Australia is poised to seize its home country advantage when the 7th World Para Shooting Championship commence at the Sydney International Shooting Centre today.
Chris Pitt (Qld) and Rohan Daw (WA) will lead the Australian charge in the 25m Mixed Air Pistol, while Anton Zappelli (WA), Natalie Smith (Qld) and Glen McMurtrie (Qld) will compete in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone.
The para trap shotgun team comprising current world champion Scottie Brydon (ACT), Mark Farrow (Qld), Duncan Burnett (WA) and Matthew Tingate (Vic) will also participate in the first day of shooting qualification.
Australian Shooting High Performance Coordinator, Kurt Olsen, said the team was capable of reaching finals and capturing medals.
“Our team has settled in well and are very excited to be competing on home soil. The first day of competition is a great opportunity to start the Championships strongly and build momentum from the outset,” said Olsen.
“We have the advantage of not having to endure a long-haul flight, compared to our competitors, and our shooters will be much fresher. In such a precision sport such as shooting, rest and avoiding jet lag is a distinct advantage,” he added.
Olsen said apart from reaching finals and capturing medals, 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games quota places will be available at the Championships.
“Anton and Natalie have already secured places for the Tokyo Paralympics while Glen and Chris have, so far, missed a quota position by just one spot,” said Olsen.
“Rohan is the greenhorn of the group and attended his first international competition earlier this year.”
Zappelli, a Rio 2016 Paralympian, and Pitt are both world-ranked in their respective disciplines.
Zappelli won a bronze medal behind Slovakia’s Radoslav Malenovsky and Germany’s Natascha Hiltrop in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone in the World Cup event in the UAE last February, and was fifth at the World Cup event in Croatia in July.
Pitt was fifth behind Ukraine’s Oleskii Denysiuk in the 25m Mixed Air Pistol in the World Cup event in the UAE.
Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications