World records tumble as Rio shooting venue hits its targets
The test event for the shooting competitions at Rio 2016 finished with a wonderful flourish, with two new world records, and a third record matched.
On 22 April, Croatia’s Snjezana Pejcic scored 594 points out of a maximum 600 in the qualification round for the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions, beating the previous record of 592 points. The following day, Alexei Klimov of Russia matched the world record of 35 points in the final of the men’s 25m pistol.
Then on the final day of competition, Hui Zicheng of China scored 463.7 points in the final of the men's 50m rifle 3 positions, an improvement of 1.2 points on the previous benchmark.
Zicheng’s performance pushed the USA’s Matthew Emmons, a three-time Olympic medallist, into second place.
Running over 10 days from 15 to 24 April, the third stage of the 2016 World Cup Series of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) was the largest single test event for Rio 2016. It provided ample opportunity to test every detail of the infrastructure and operations of the Olympic Shooting Centre, which is part of the Deodoro Olympic complex in the west of Rio.
Zicheng’s record-breaking exploits, helped China to finish the competition at the top of the table with seven medals in total, including two golds, ahead of Russia in second and Ukraine in third.
The skeet events, which take place outdoors, produced some upsets with many of the big names present missing out on the podium. Marcus Svensson of Sweden won the first gold medal of his career, getting the better of India’s Mairaj Ahmad Khan for in a tie-breaking shoot-off.
“It’s so great to win in Rio,” he enthused. “The ranges are beautiful, I shot really well and I’m glad to be here. It will be great to come back in a few months,” Svensson said after the medal ceremony. For Khan, silver was his first medal of any colour in ISSF World Cup events, after 15 years of competing.
Vincent Hancock of the USA, the reigning ISSF world champion, who won gold in the skeet at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, came fifth. Afterwards, the American was presented with the 2015 ISSF Men’s Shooter of the Year Award. “Rio is very cool” he said. “I will be back in August to try and win another gold.”
In the women’s skeet, Thailand’s Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit won her first World Cup gold medal, beating triple Olympic champion and shooting legend Kimberly Rhode of the USA into second place.