Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli has come within a whisker of claiming Western Australia’s Anton Zappelli has come within a whisker of claiming Australia’s first gold medal at the 7th World Para Sport Shooting Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre tonight.
Shooting in the Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1 event, Zappelli finished with 252.9 points to be a mere 0.3 points behind gold medallist Matt Skelhon (253.2 points) from Great Britain, while Yan Taping (232.1) snared the bronze medal.
In a high-quality saw-sawing final, Zappelli led during the middle stages but was unable to withstand Skelhon’s strong finish.
Skelhorn’s victory confirmed his number one world ranking status while Zappelli entered the final ranked fifth.
Zappelli, a 2016 Rio Paralympian, was thrilled with his silver medal as he had to overcome equipment issues leading into the Championship.
“I was shooting really well in training and hoping for a top three finish, but last Friday my rifle went out of tune. And the issues started again in training yesterday, so my expectations were not all that high,” said Zappelli.
“However, it managed to hold together tonight, and I was very surprised with the result given the problems I was having,” said Zappelli. “The silver medal hasn’t quite sunk in yet ” he added.
Australian Para Shooting National Team Manager, Kurt Olsen, said Zappelli’s opening night silver medal was very pleasing.
“Anton shot really well and it is a great start to our campaign. It’s given the team a real shot of confidence,” said Olsen.
Ukraine’s Oleksii Denysiuk outclassed Serbia’s Zivko Papaz and China’s Xing Huang to capture gold in the Mixed 25m Pistol SH1. Australia’s Chris Pitt and Rohan Daw finished 18th and 45th respectively.
In the other gold medal event, South Korea proved too strong for China and Ukraine in the Mixed 25m Pistol SH1 team’s event. first gold medal at the 7th World Para Sport Shooting Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre tonight.
Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications