Olympic and world champions set for landmark ISSF World Cup Final in Doha

Olympic and world champions have converged on Doha to take part in the first International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) World Cup final to be held for four years.

This landmark event, which includes the exciting extra prospect of Super Finals in three of the 12 Olympic events on the programme, will bring the 2023 season to a close – and point the way to the Paris 2024 Games.

A competition that ISSF President Luciano Rossi has hinted will take place again next year at the same world-class Lusail Shooting Range will see the firsttwo finals taking place tomorrow in the men’s and women’s 10 metres air pistol.

The men’s event will include the 27-year-old who won the world title in Baku in August, Zhang Bowen, part of a Chinese team that, with 19 members, is the largest in a tournament involving179 athletes from 42 nations.

Italy and Germany will field 13 shooting athletes, with India and the hosts, Qatar, providing 12 each, while France, next year’s Olympic hosts, are represented by 10 competitors.

Other stellar performers who will be taking part in a competition that runs until Saturday, November 25 include three-times Olympic champion and six-times Olympian Kimberly Rhode of the United StatesCroatia’s London 2012 trap gold medallist and current world and European Games champion Giovanni Cernogoraz and Italy’s London 2012 women’s trap gold medallist and three-times world champion Jessica Rossi.

Zhang’s opponents in tomorrow’s 10m air pistol event include the men who shared the World Championship podium with him in Baku – Serbia’s Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Damir Mikec and bronze medallist Kiril Kirov of Bulgaria.

Chinese chances in the women’s 10m air pistol look hugely healthy given the presence of this year’s world gold and bronze medallists, respectively Jiang Ranxin and Li Xue.

Although Bulgaria’s 37-year-old Antoaneta Kostadinova is world silver medallist in the womens10m air pistol event she will be competing in the Qatari capital in the 25m pistol.

There she will face the formidable challenge of the 28-year-old German who equalled the world record score of 40 in winning this year’s world title - Doreen Vennekamp.

The men’s 25m rapid fire pistol will see the France’s Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Jean Quiquampoix and world champion and double Olympic bronze medallist Li Yuehong of China in opposition, with the world silver and bronze medallists, respectively Quiquampoix’s compatriot Clement Bessaguet and Germany’s Florian Peter, also in the mix.

The men’s and women’s world champions will be in action in the 10m air rifle events.

Sweden’s Victor Lindgren will face the opponents who earned silver and bronze in Baku, namely Yang Haoran of China and the Czech Republic’s Frantisek Smetana.

In the women’s event, China’s world gold medallist similarly faces her compatriot Wang Zhilin, world silver medallist, and bronze medallist Mehuli Ghosh of India.

In the last of the pistol and rifle categories, the 50m rifle 3 positions, men’s world champion Alexander Schmirl of Austria will take on respective world silver and bronze medallists Petr Nymbursky of the Czech Republic and India’s Akhil Sheoran.

China’s world champion Zhang Qiongyue will be challenged by her team-mate Han Jiayu, who earned a world silver in this event to go with her 10m air rifle gold, and Switzerland’s Olympic champion Nina Christen.

In the shotgun events Cernogoraz will be challenged in the men’s trap by the Czech pair who took respective gold and silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Jiri Liptak and David Kostelecky, as well as the Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Matthew Coward-Holley and Kuwait’s world bronze medallist Khaled Almudhaf.

In the women’s trap, Rossi faces Chinese Taipei’s world champion Li Yi Chun and Olympic champion Zuzanna Rehak-Stefecekova of Slovakia, as well as Germany’s world bronze medallist Kathrin Murche and Australia’s 2017 world champion Penny Smith, who won the Shotgun World Cup which took place in Doha earlier this season.

Rhode will contest the women’s skeet, in which she won the first of her three successive Olympic titles at the London 2012 Games, and her strongest challenger looks likely to be Greece’s world bronze medallist Emmanouela Katzouraki.

The men’s skeet will feature 52-year-old local hero Nasser Al-Attiyah, the bronze medallist at the London 2012 Olympics who this year earned a fifth title in the Dakar Rally.

His opposition includes this year’s world gold, silver and bronze medallists, respectively Efthimios Mitas of Greece, Eetu Kallioinen, Finland’s sole representative in the Final, and 2022 world champion Azmy Mehelba of Egypt.

Winners in each event will receive 5,000 and a World Cup Final Trophy, with 4,000 on offer for second place and 2,000 for third.

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