News

13.05.2015

Finals 10m Air Rifle Men

Serbia's Stefanovic claims air rifle gold and Rio 2016 Quota at Fort Benning's opening event

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Fort Benning, USA

The ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning kicked-off with a thrilling 10m Air Rifle Men final, today. Serbia's Stefanovic claimed the brightest medal and an Olympic quota for his country, booking a ticket to Rio de Janeiro.

The 2015 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning, GA, USA – the fifth world cup stage of the season – kicked-off with the 10m Air Rifle Men event, today.

 

The first athlete to climb atop of Fort Benning's podium was Milutin Stefanovic of Serbia (30), who beat the current #1 in the world in this event, China's air rifle champion Yang Haoran (19), to secure his first ISSF World Cup Gold in career.

 

Stefanovic started competing in the ISSF World Cup Series just one year ago, as he took part in his first world cup match here in Fort Benning, where he also secured a silver medal at his first try.

Coming back on his “lucky range”, the Serbian shooter showed once again to be one of the most skilled air rifle shooters of the world. After the first final's shots, he moved up in second place, a few tenths behind Yang Haoranm who led the first phase of the round.

 

The second part of the match turned into a neck and neck duel between the two finalists. After the 17th shot, Stefanovic was only 0.2 points behind Yang, and then tied his opponents after the 18th shot as he scored a fantastic 10.9.

 

The last two shots were determinant for the success of the Serbian athlete, who fired two excellent 10.7-point shots, leaving Yang in second place 0.7 points behind him.

 

As he collected his very first world cup gold medal with 209.7 points, Stefanovic also secured Rio 2016 quota place, coming closer to his life-dream: participating in the Olympic Games.

 

“It's amazing! The policy of our team is that who wins the Olympic quota goes to the Games. I am going to Rio, to my first Olympic Games.” He said, right after the last shot.

 

“I have been waiting for an opportunity to compete for a quota place for a long time. I started participating in world cups last year, here in Fort Benning, where I also won my first medal. This is my lucky spot!” Stefanovic continued.

 

“I am very satisfied with the result: today's score is a new Serbian record. I have been shooting for the medals: I tried not to think about the Olympic quota place, and that's probably the recipe of my success.”

 

“Going against the top-ranked shooters of the world, I had a lot of pressure on me. But I love the pressure. I am giving my best under pressure.” Stefanovic concluded, smiling as one of his teammates reminded him that he will have a lot of pressure to cope with, when he will be in Rio.

 

The 2014 Youth Olympic Champion Yang Haoran followed him in second place, with 209.0 points, while the Bronze medal and the second Rio 2016 Olympic quota place went to Bulgaria's Anton Rizov (27), who scored 185.8 points to win his first world cup medal in career in this event.

 

Following them, South Korea's Kim Sang Do (27) – who arrived here in Fort Benning after securing a Rio 2016 Olympic Quota place at the last ISSF world cup stage held on his home turf, in Changwon – placed in fourth with 163.6 points.

 

The third and last Olympic slot to be distributed went to the fifth placed Alexander Schmirl (25) of Austria, who claimed the quota with 142.5 points. He was followed by Finland's 23-year old finalist Juho Kurki, ranked 19th in the world and competing in his third world cup final round today, who scored 122.0 points.

 

After winning an air rifle gold medal at the previous world cup stage in Changwon, the 36-year old Hungarian champion Peter Sidi made it into Fort Benning's first final, but with 101.3 points he was the second eliminated shooter of today's final match, placing in seventh with 101.3 points, just 0.4 points behind his closest opponent at the moment of the elimnation.

 

The 2012 Olympic Silver medallist in this event Niccolò Campriani of Italy (27) was also disappointed as he left the competition at the first elimination with 80.3 points.

 

Over 600 athletes representing 76 nations arrived here in Fort Benning to participate in the 10 Olympic rifle and pistol events, trying to secure one of the 24 Rio 2016 Olympic Quota places up for grabs during the event. They will compete at the well known shooting range of Fort Benning, which has been expanded this year with the construction of a brand new finals' hall.

 

The competition will continue with one more medal match, today: the 25m Pistol Women final is set to start at 16.30 (GMT-4) this afternoon. Watch the match live at www.issf-sports.org

RESULTS - 10m Air Rifle Men

1. STEFANOVIC Milutin

2. YANG Haoran

3. RIZOV Anton

13.05.2015

VIDEO - Finals 10m Air Rifle Men

13.05.2015

Marco Dalla Dea