GB’s Matt Skelhon stole the limelight at the World Championships, claiming two championship titles and breaking a world record.
In the last major event before the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the pressure was on. All ELEY shooters took aim to secure not only world titles but also a quota place for the next games.
Hosted in Sydney, Australia, more than 280 athletes from 55 countries travelled down to take part in the championships. Kicking off on the 12th October, the action was over a week at the Sydney International Shooting Centre – a venue purpose-built for the 2000 Olympics and Paralympics.
However, all eyes were on Matt Skelhon who, on the opening day, clinched gold in R3 – mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1. In total, he scored 253.2 points to just edge out Australia’s Anton Zappelli by 0.3 points. This secured Skelhon the World Champion title.
Yan Yaping of China completed the podium line up with a score of 232.1 points awarding him the bronze medal.
If that wasn’t enough, on the last day of the Championships, Skelhon put on an impressive performance in the R6 – mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 event. A score of 251.4 gave Skelhon the gold medal and his second World Championship title making him a double world champion!
Not only this, but his score broke the current world record by a huge 1.4 points. This was set a few months ago at the World Cup in Osijek, Croatia by Natascha Hiltrop. Hiltrop finished just behind Skelhon in second place.
A fantastic performance from Matt. Speaking after the win, he said: “I’ve worked really hard and wanted to come to Sydney to smash it and did that. Half way through the final I felt the world record was up for grabs and went for it. I couldn’t be happier with two gold medals and Tokyo can’t come soon enough.”
Tim Jeffery, Ryan Cockbill and James Bevis also showed off their sharp shooting skills to take the gold medal in the men’s team 50m SH2 final. This tops their silver medal performance at the World Cup in Osijek earlier this year.
Lastly, Issy Bailey and Lorraine Lambert each earnt a quota place for the next Paralympic Games while in Sydney. Issy claimed hers in the P2 – women’s 10m air pistol SH1 event after finishing in 9th position. This huge achievement for Issy happened six years to the day that she first picked up a pistol! Lorraine won her quota place in the R8 – women’s 50m rifle 3P SH1 qualifier making Tokyo her second Paralympic Games.
As the season draws to an end, our shooters will be taking a well-deserved rest from competing. Instead, focusing on training ahead of an important year for all athletes.
You can follow their journey on the British Shooting website.