Tokyo Paralympic Games awaits Australia’s Para Shooting athletes

Australia’s three Para Shooting athletes enter a 14-day staging camp tomorrow prior to flying to Japan for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Australia’s three Para Shooting team members are Queenslanders Natalie Smith and Chris Pitt, plus Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli.

The trio will undergo their final intensive training sessions at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre plus receive team briefings ahead of their departure for Tokyo on August 26.

In Tokyo, Smith will compete in the R2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing and the R3 mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone. Zappelli will also contest the R3 mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone plus the R6 mixed 50m Rifle Prone and

Pitt will compete in the P1 men’s 10m Air Pistol and the P3 mixed 25m Pistol.

All three athletes attended the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games while the Tokyo Games will be Smith’s third Paralympics having won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Smith finished fifth in the women’s 10 metre Air Rifle standing SH1 event in Rio, while Pitt was beaten for a bronze medal in a shoot-off in the Mixed 25m Pistol.

After the Rio Games, Zappelli won bronze medals in 2017 at the World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) event in the UAE and Croatia.

He earned a Tokyo Paralympic Games quota at the 2018 WSPS World Championship in Korea and his great form continued in 2019 with a silver medal at the WSPS Event in Hannover before another silver, just 0.3 points off the gold medal, in the 2019 WSPS World Championship in Sydney.

Zappelli will arrive in Tokyo ranked third in the world in the R3 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone and 11th in the R6 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone.

In 2017, Pitt earned gold in the P3 25m Air Pistol at the WSPS event in Bangkok before claiming a bronze medal in the WSPS competition in Osijek and another bronze in the Chateauroux WSPS event in 2018.

In 2018, Smith won gold in the R2 19m Air Rifle event in Chateauroux.

Shooting Australia Chief Executive, Luke van Kempen, said an exciting journey awaits the Para Shooters in Tokyo.

“We are immensely proud of their efforts under difficult pandemic restrictions over the past 16 months. They are now in the home straight for Tokyo and we wish them well during the staging camp and every success at the Paralympic Games,” said Mr van Kempen.

Australia has won 25 medals including 15 gold in Shooting since it was introduced to the Games in 1976.

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