The collective rifle, pistol and shotgun ISSF World Cup stage in Granada, Spain, concluded with a familiar sight: China on top of the standings.
China’s four golds, three silvers and two bronzes were mostly won in the rifle and pistol events, in which China appears to be emerging as something of a superpower.
Three golds helped Italy to second spot, while Korea, also strong in rifle and pistol events, took third spot.
With British shooters typically absent from the finals of the rifle and pistol events, Brits were reduced to the role of spectators as the best target shooters in the world contested the medals.
The first gold of the tournament went to a familiar name: Peter Sidi of Hungary, who had set world records in the last two World Cup events but failed to capitalise each time and took silver and bronze instead. This time the tables were turned: it was China’s Tao Wang who led after qualification, but Sidi took advantage of the new finals formats to post a strong final series and finally scoop a gold medal.
Next was the men’s 50-metre pistol, where one name – Jin Jong Oh – has risen above all others in recent years and particularly since his two golds at the 2012 Olympics. Here he cemented his status as a great by taking gold with a lead of no less than 10.9 points.
Then China got into the golds in the women’s air rifle. Siling Yi is never far from the podium positions on the international stage, and here she topped it, Austria’s Lisa Ungerank in second place. In third place was Liuxi Wu, who had set a world record in qualification – a sign of how little the qualification scores mean under the new formats.
Moving on, Mexico’s Alejandra Zavala triumphed in the women’s pistol, and Italy’s Petra Zublasing topped the standings in the women’s three-position rifle. From then on it was Asian domination. China’s 24-year-old star Li Yuehong took his third World Cup gold in three years in the rapid fire pistol, before Korea’s Jin Jong Oh once again ended up with a gold medal around his neck, this time in the men’s air pistol.
Finally, China’s Jie Li climbed up the scoreboard in the men’s rifle three positions, having been in seventh place after the prone and kneeling stages – but his unbeatable score in the final position catapulted him all the way to gold.
The curtain then closed on another thrilling, closely fought World Cup, with just the final stage later this year remaining. As well as providing some excellent sport it was food for thought for British shooting fans; we are long used to being envious of Europe’s successes in Olympic target disciplines, but now it appears Europe as a whole may have to be jealous of China and Korea.
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