ISSF World Cup Series 2018: Korakaki, Pejcic and Lin win Gold

Anna Korakaki (Image: ISSF/Nicolo Zangirolami)

Fort Benning: An action packed day went down in Fort Benning, as three individual events took place at the ISSF World Cup Stage 3: the 10m Air Pistol Women, 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women and 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men.

10m Air Pistol Women

A couple of days after winning the bronze medal in the 25m Pistol Women event, Anna Korakaki stepped once again on the World Cup podium in Fort Benning, this time claiming the brightest medal in the women’s 10m Air Pistol final.

The 22-year-old shooter — who won bronze in this event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games — struggled a little bit in the opening series of the match, then firing with more consistency when it counted the most. As she took the lead after the fourth series, indeed, Korakaki maintained the top position until the very end, distancing herself from Serbia’s Zorana Arunovic and eventually finishing with 243.7 points.

The 33-year-old shooter from Belgrade couldn’t keep up to Korakaki’s pace and finished 3.6 points behind her, securing the silver medal with 240.1 points. Moreover, just like her Greek opponent, Arunovic won her second medal in Fort Benning by Arunovic, as she claimed bronze in the women’s 25m Pistol event two days ago.

Appearing in the third final match of her career, Thailand’s Pim-On Klaisuban finally grabbed the first international medal of her career in Fort Benning, finishing 3rd with 219.1 points. In her previous final participations, the 25-year-old athlete had placed 5th in Changwon (KOR) in 2015 and 4th in Bangkok (THA) in 2016.

Right at the feet of the podium, People’s Republic of China’s Ji Xiaojing scored 199.0 points and left the match after 20 shots, placing 4th. One position lower, Portugal’s Joana Castelo (33) took part in an Air Pistol final match for the first time since 2010, concluding the match in 5th position with 176.2 points.

Castelo was followed by eight-time Olympian Nino Salukvadze, who finished 6th with 155.2 points, and by Serbia’s Bobana Momcilovic Velickovic: the 28-year-old shooter took 7th place with 135.3 points. Participating in her sixth final match, 22-year-old Yu Ai Wen of Chinese Taipei closed the final in 8th position with 116.0 points.

50m Rifle 3 Positions Women

In the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women a dominant performance delivered the gold medal to Croatia’s 35-year-old shooter Snjezana Pejcic.

Finishing 5.0 points ahead of her closest rival, Pejcic secured the sixth World Cup gold of her career in the 3 Positions event, taking the lead at the end of the prone position and sailing away with two fantastic standing 5-shot series, where he scored 50.1 and 50.7 points. As her advantage increased up to 7.2 points after two more shots, Pejcic relaxed a little bit, missing the 10th ring with her final three shots and closing the match with 460.0.

Two Chinese shooters placed on the second and third step of the podium: first-time final participant Jiang Ting (24) won silver and scored 455.0, while 18-year-old Wang Zeru — gold medalist in this event at last month’s ISSF World Cup in Changwon (KOR) — took bronze with 440.4.

The young Chinese talent preceded the current leader of the World Ranking in this event — Germany’s 23-year-old Jolyn Beer — and Serbia’s 31-year-old Andrea Arsovic, who respectively finished in 4th and 5th position. Beer, who also won the ISSF crystal trophy at last year’s World Cup Final in New Delhi (IND), closed her final with 432.1 points, while Arsovic signed off with 420.9.

At the 40th-shot mark, the first two shooters eliminated from the final were United States’ 26-year-old Sarah Beard and Germany’s first-time finalist Isabella Straub (26). The American shooter took 7th place on her home turf, scoring 397.3 points, while Straub closed in 8th position with 394.4.

One shot later, they were followed by the third Chinese finalist — 31-year-old Wan Xiangyan — who placed 6th with 408.4 points.

25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men

The busy competition day closed with the People’s Republic of China pocketing gold and silver in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event.

After they both signed a perfect 5-hit series on their second-to-last round, Lin Junmin (21) and Yao Zhaonan (22) were standing tied at the top of the table with 26 hits and one last series to fire.

There, Lin prevailed over his teammate thanks to a 4-hit series, finishing with 30 hits and adding the World Cup gold to the silver he won last year in New Delhi (IND). Yao, instead, signed off with a 2-hit series, concluding his match with 28 hits and pocketing silver in the second World Cup start of his career.

A third Chinese finalist — 32-year-old Zhang Jian — placed just outside of the medal position, placing 4th with 18 hits and missing the bronze medal that would have given the Chinese National Team their second podium sweep of the competition in Fort Benning.

In a match where the six final slots were evenly divided by the People’s Republic of China and France, Jean Quiquampoix completed the podium in 3rd position with 22 hits, taking his personal tally in the ISSF World Cup Series to six medals in 14 total starts: two golds, two silvers and 2 bronzes.

Two consecutive shoot-offs were required to determine the elimination in 5th and 6th position: first, after the fourth series, France’s 26-year-old Clement Bessaguet lost a four-way tie-breaker against Lin, Zhang and his teammate Boris Artaud (27), finishing in 6th position with 13 hits. A few moments later it was Artaud who left the match, as he lost a second shoot-off against Quiquampoix and Zhang, taking 5th place with 16 hits.

The ISSF World Cup Stage 3 in Fort Benning will conclude tomorrow with the two last final matches: the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team, taking place at 10:45 am (UTC-4:00), and the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team, scheduled at 1:45 pm.

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