Disability Shooting Great Britain earned four direct slots at Fort Benning for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to take the total won across the qualification period to ten.
The IPC Shooting World Cup, which was held between the 3rd and 7th of November, was the last opportunity to win direct slots following the World Championships in Germany and World Cups in Croatia and Australia.
Owen Burke won a slot in R1 (10m Air Rifle Standing Men SH1) by finishing 5th. Roy Carter and Stewart Nangle came 3rd and 7th in P1 (10m Air Pistol Men SH1) and claimed the two slots available in that event while Karen Butler’s 18th place was also enough in R6 (50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH1).
Shooters who had already won slots in previous events and are now competing for Rio selection were also on good form.
The standout performer was Ryan Cockbill who won Gold in R4 (10m Air Rifle Standing Mixed SH2) having qualified second and Silver in R5 (10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH2) having finished top in qualification. James Bevis qualified second in R5 but finished 5th in the final. Richard Davies originally finished 2nd in R4 qualification but was penalised for an accidental discharge which saw him slip to 22nd and lose the opportunity to win a direct slot.
World Record holder Matt Skelhon won R6 silver after qualifying top and his duel with the UAE’s Gold winning Abdullah Sultan Alayrani will be fascinating in Games year, especially with the next World Cup to be held in Dubai in January. Skelhon had also qualified well in R3 (10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH1) but he could not repeat his second place in the final, slipping to 4th after struggling with a new rifle.
Roy Carter took bronze in P1 after qualifying top with an international PB of 573. Carter also took Gold in the non-Paralympic event P5 (10m Air Pistol Standard SH1) while James Bevis also took Gold in R9 (50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH2), the other non-Paralympic event at the competition.
Other GB shooters made finals with Owen Burke 5th in R1 and 8th in R7 (50m Rifle 3 Positions Men SH1), Karen Butler 8th in R2 (10m Air Rifle Standing Women SH1), Stewart Nangle 7th in P1 and Issy Bailey 7th in P2 (10m Air Pistol Women SH1). Three GB shooters made the R8 (50m Rifle 3 Positions Women SH1) with Lorraine Lambert 4th, Karen Butler 7th and Lesley Baldwin 8th.
The following shooters won direct slots for Rio across the qualification period. Each shooter could only win one slot and the slot is awarded to the NPC rather than the named athlete.
R1 - Owen Burke
R3 - Matt Skelhon
R5 - James Bevis, Ryan Cockbill, Tim Jeffery
R6 - Ben Jesson, Lorraine Lambert, Karen Butler
P1 - Roy Carter, Stewart Nangle
Performance Director and Head Coach Pasan Kularatne said “I am very pleased to have won four more quota places for Rio. The ten places we have earned is I think a strong return on the investment in the sport by UK Sport through the National Lottery. We will have a very strong team of ten athletes in Rio and competition for selection will be fierce. The shooters will be able to push each other on to achieve medal winning performances and cement GB’s place at the top table of Paralympic shooting”.
CEO James Marsh Brown said “The ten places earned and medal winning performances over the course of the qualification period are testament to the hard work and dedication shown by our athletes and supported by our World Class team of coaches and staff. The structure we have created with the help of funding from UK Sport through the National Lottery has allowed these athletes to develop and challenge the World's best for medals and we march on to Rio full of confidence that we can deliver truly memorable performances at next year’s Paralympic Games”.
The full results of the IPC Shooting World Cup Fort Benning can be found here