The 2017 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Munich, Germany, kicked-off today with the men’s 10m Air Rifle competition. The match, held at the 1972 Olympic Shooting Range in Hochbruck, saw the success of Rio 2016 silver medalist Sergey Kamenskiy, who finished atop of the podium with a new world record of 250.9 points.
Kamenskiy, 29, beat his teammate Vladimir Maslennikov, 22, after a thrilling neck and neck fight throughout the second half of the match, leaving him in second place with 250.4 points. Maslennikov held the 250.5-point world record shuttered by Kamenskiy today. He had scored it on the 11th of March, when he won the 2017 European Championship in Maribor, Slovenia.
“It has been a tough competition,” Kamenskiy said after the final. “It has been really hot through the competition day here in Munich, it has been intense. I am so happy that I made it to the first place, and that I get to share the podium with my teammate Vladimir. He did a great job today.”
Kamenskiy had finished in the spotlights by winning the Olympic 50m Rifle 3 Position silver medal in Rio, last year. Then, he secured the ISSF World Cup title in the same event at the end of the season, in Bologna, Italy.
“I kept on training through the winter season, I kept on working hard,” he commented. “I did a lot of physical training and worked on the technique, I never really stopped after the Games.”
The 2015 European Games champion Vitali Bubnovich of Belarus, 42, claimed today’s Bronze with 228.9 points, securing his second ISSF world cup medal in career.
At the following 10m Air Rifle Women event, three first-time world cup finalists made it to the podium: Romania’s Laura Georgeta Ilie, Czech Republic’s Gabriela Vognarova and Iran’s Sadeghian Armina.
24-year old Ilie finished in the lead with 250.2 points, turning out to be unreachable by her opponents, as she closed the match with 3.7 points of advantage on silver medalist Vognarova, second with 246.5 points. The Rumanian athlete, ranked 120th in the world in this event, led the match since the first series, increasing her advantage shot after shot.
“It’s great, it feels great,” she said. “I walked into the final trying to control my emotions. That’s key in our sport: to keep the focus. I knew I was shooting well, but I kept it easy, and I am happy that I finally made it.”
“I started shooting seven years ago, when I was 17, through a school program. To be honest, at the beginning I only did it for my grades,” she added smiling, “then I got hooked by the sport and continued training, improving competition after competition. In 2015 I won gold in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions event at the Universiade, and now I am here.”
Iran’s 15-year old Armina, today’s youngest finalist, followed her in 3rd claiming Bronze with 227.1 after surviving a shoot-off against Norway’s 23-year old two-time Olympian Malin Westerheim, who closed the match in 4th with 206.3 points.
753 athletes from 80 nations are competing in the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Munich, from the 18th through the 23rd of May.
The world cup stage will continue tomorrow, May 20, with two medal events: the men’s 50m Pistol final will be held at 11.15 (GMT+3), and it will be followed by the women’s 25m Pistol final at 13.30.