Medals for GB at Paralympic qualifier event

Britain’s top disability shooters have returned from the IPC Shooting World Cup in the USA with two gold, five silver and four bronze medals and two quota places for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Britain’s top disability shooters have returned from the IPC Shooting World Cup in the USA with two Gold, five Silver and four Bronze medals, and two quota places for the 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 12-strong GB squad joined another 125 athletes from 27 nations at the event, which took place at the United States Army Marksmanship Unit located in the Fort Benning military reservation at Columbus Georgia from the 3rd to the 9th of October 2011.

Paralympians Matt Skelhon and Nathan Milgate led the team’s top performances, taking individual Gold and Silver and individual Silver and Bronze respectively, while both also teaming up with Deanna Coates to take team Gold.

Performances from Matt Skelhon and Karen Butler also saw the team pick up two more quota places for next summer’s London Paralympic Games, to add to the two places already earned at the World Cup in Spain in May. Twelve quota places in total were on offer at this event.

There was a British one and two in the R3 -10m Air Rifle Prone Mixed SH1. Nathan Milgate shot a perfect score of 600 in the qualification round, before shooting 103.7 in the final to take Silver, while GB team-mate Matt Skelhon shot 599 in qualification, before shooting a superb final of 105.9 to take the Gold. Bronze was won by Tatiana Ryabchenko of Russia. Milgate and Skelhon then teamed up with GB’s Deanna Coates, who finished 7th (598 and 104), to take the Gold. Britain’s Benjamin Jesson finished 23rd with 594.

Matt Skelhon followed up this performance with a Silver medal in the R6 - 50m Rifle Prone Mixed SH1, shooting 592 in qualification, and 101.3 in the finals to finish second to Natascha Hiltrop of Germany, who shot 593 and 101.8 to finish top. The British team of Skelhon, Nathan Milgate and Karen Butler took the team Silver, behind Germany with Gold. Britain’s Benjamin Jesson shot 577.

Karen Butler went on to win Bronze in the R6 50m Rifle 3 Positions Women, scoring 554 in qualification and 89.6 in the finals to register a total score of 643.6. Gold was won by Manuella Schermund of Germany with 668.9 and Lotta Helsinger of Sweden with 664.3.

Nathan Milgate’s second individual medal came in the R1 10m Air Rifle Standing Men SH1. He took Bronze with a total score of 688.9 (589 and 99.9) behind Gold medallist Franc Pinter, of Slovenia, with 694.1 (592 and 102.1) and Germany’s Josef Neumaier with Silver with a score of 690.9 (592 and 102.1). Matt Skelhon just missed out on the medals finishing fourth with 688.7 (589 and 99.7).

There was another GB medal in the R2 10m Air Rifle Standing Women SH1. Britain’s Deanna Coates scored 393 in qualification and 100.9 in the final to take Silver. Australia’s Natalie Smith won Gold with a total score of 497.9 (395 and 102.9). Bronze went to Germany’s Manuella Schmermund, while GB’s Karen Butler finished fifth with a total score of 486.3 (387 and 99.3).

In the R5 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2, British rising star Ryan Cockbill was one of the three shooters to score a perfect 600 in the qualification rounds before taking Bronze with a finals score of 104.9 (704.9 total). Gold was won by the Ukraine’s Vasyl Kovalchuk with a final score of 105.3 (705.3 in total) and Silver was taken by New Zealand’s Michael Johnson with 105.3 in the finals (705.3 in total). Georgina Callingham finished 7th with a total score of 705.1(599 and 105.1). Britain’s team of James Bevis, Richard Davies and Georgina Callingham added to GB’s medal haul with team Bronze. Team Gold went to Australia and team Silver to Serbia.

There was then a team Silver for Richard Davies, Ryan Cockbill and Georgina Callingham in the R4 10m Air Rifle Standing Mixed SH2. In the same event GB’s James Bevis finished 7th in the individual competition with an international personal best of 597 in the qualification round and 101.5 in the finals.

GB’s Pam Grainger and Ann Wild meanwhile competed in the pistol shooting competitions, finishing 10th and 12th respectively in the P2 10m Air Pistol Women.

Head Coach and Team Manager Pasan Kularatne said: “I am very pleased and proud with the performance of the GB squad at this World Cup. I would like to recognise the commitment and dedication of all the shooters to achieve these results and the excellent work by all staff and others working with the world class programmes. We have one more opportunity at the Australia World Cup next month to gain one further quota place, with a maximum of five places available to the GB squad for the Paralympics.”

The GB team were supported in the USA by Team Manager and Head Coach Pasan Kularatne, coaches Robin Taylor, Andrea Zakor and Vladimir Filimonov, Physiotherapist, Jo Hipkiss, Psychologist, Jonathan Katz and support staff Louise Davies, Andrew Cockbill and Shaun Gregory.