Published on 07 Jan 2024

Vennekamp voted ISSF Female Athlete of the Year for 2023


Germany’s Doreen Vennekamp, who equalled the world record for the women’s 25m pistol event in winning her first world title in Baku, has been voted as the ISSF Female Athlete of the Year for 2023.

The competition was revived last year under the organisation of the Athletes Committee after a five-year hiatus and followed the same rules that had obtained since its institution in 1984.

The 28-year-old from Gelnhausen scored 40 shots at the ISSF World Championships in Baku to equal the mark set in 2019 by Hungary’s Veronika Major.

Germany’s 2022 European champion and world No.1 went into the final series of five shots certain of victory as she already led by eight.

She had earned a Paris 2024 quota place for her country earlier.

Vennekamp, whose final in Baku was watched by German Ambassador to Azerbaijan Ralf Horlemann, won one of the six World Cup events in the discipline, in Bophal, finishing second to Major in the previous edition in Cairo.

She concluded her season with another significant podium position as she earned silver at the World Cup Final in Doha.

The Athlete of the Year competition came after a particularly busy year involving two ISSF Grands Prix, 13 ISSF World Cups, the ISSF World Championship Juniors in Changwon, the 53rd ISSF World Championships in Baku and, making its return after a four-year gap, the World Cup Final, which was held in Doha.

Votes for the male and female ISSF Shooter of the Year 2023 were invited by Cassio Rippel, chair of the ISSF Athletes Committee, with the deadline falling on December 29.

“The Athletes Committee is proud to be able to bring the athletes again into the spotlight and to give them the award that is so important for them, to pay back for all the efforts they have made,” Rippel told ISSF.

A suggested list of 18 male and 16 athletes was sent within voting cards to eligible members of the Athletes Committee, Coaches Committee and ISSF media representatives, who were asked to list their top five men and women. 

But it was stressed that proposed shooters need not come from the lists provided.

“The ISSF Shooter of the Year has been a role model for 24 years, from 1984-2017,” an Athletes Committee release said.

“A personality, who is successful through unique performances, behaviour and character.

“Possibly not always the most successful winner of the season, but a shooter who represents the special values of the shooting sport with commitment.”

All the continents were represented in the voting, with 11 female shooters earning nominations. 

Vennekamp earned a total of 59 points.

Second place went to Slovakia’s International Olympic Committee member and London 2012 bronze medallist Danka Bartekova, who won a first world title, in the women’s skeet, at the age of 38.

Third place was tied between Norway’s Jeanette Hegg Duestad and Jiayu Han of China.

Duestad made the podium in four of the six World Cups in the 50m rifle 3 positions, also winning at the World Cup Final in Doha and taking bronze in the 10m air rifle at the same event.

Han, 21, took her first global title in earning women’s 10m air rifle gold at the Baku World Championships.

Fifth place went to Greece’s Rio 2016 25m pistol champion Anna Korakaki, with Switzerland’s Tokyo 2020 gold medallist in the 50m rifle 3 positions, Nina Christen, sixth.

China’s 21-year-old Sixuan Feng, winner of two World Cups and the World Cup Final title in the women’s 25m pistol, was seventh, one place ahead of Britain’s Seonaid McIntosh, the 2018 world champion in the 50m rifle prone who set a world record of 467.0 points in winning the World Cup title in Baku, was eighth in the voting.

One place behind was China’s world 10m air pistol champion Ranxin Jiang, who earned bronze at the World Cup Final, with tenth place going to Major, winner of two World Cup 25m pistol titles.

The award is due to be presented later this month at the opening ISSF World Cup of the season in Cairo.