Changwon, SK -(Ammoland.com)- Perhaps this generation’s greatest marksman, Matt Emmons, proved it yet again Sunday with a season-opening victory and an Olympic quota in the Prone Rifle event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Changwon, South Korea.
After shooting an almost impeccable qualification score of 632.0 points – just 0.3 points off the world record – the three-time Olympic medalist closed the deal with an equally strong final medal match securing the gold and a Rio 2016 Olympic Quota.
Winning Olympic quotas at these events are of utmost importance for the USA Shooting Team with limited opportunities to do so available throughout 2015. A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. USA Shooting athletes winning Olympic quotas will still have to earn the right to compete separately. The U.S. has now earned three quotas in the Rifle/Pistol events including Men’s Air Rifle and Men’s Air Pistol, with the potential to earn up to an additional 17 prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. More information on selection procedures and quotas for 2015 World Cups and the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here.
The stats were pretty telling as to the domination Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) displayed on this day. All but two of his shots landed inside the 10-ring, with a 9 not showing on the scoreboard until the finals on his 69th and 80th registered shots. Of those 80 shots, an amazing 52 of them were 10.5 points or better.
For as good as shooter as Emmons has been for Team USA with now his 36th World Cup medal, it’s amazing to think that this is his first podium visit in this event since 2010 and only the second World Cup Prone victory of his career, one that before today dated back all the way to 2007.
To earn the gold, he’d have to fend off hometown favorite Kim Hakman of South Korea as well as 2000 Olympic silver medalist Torben Grimmel of Denmark and 2003 “ISSF Shooter of the Year” Henri Junghaenel. Those three would finish second, third and fourth respectively.
Joining Emmons in the final was U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit’s (USAMU) Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama). Uptagrafft would qualify with the fourth best score on the day (623.8) but would slip one spot in the final to finish fifth overall. Uptagrafft’s USAMU teammate Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin) would finish just .6 points out of a spot in the finals in 10th. A score of 9.5 on his 55th shot likely costing him a medal chance.
To see Emmons in action during the Finals of Men’s 50m Prone Rifle, click here.
If you want to read more about Emmons and what makes him tick as he comes into twilight of his career, check out the feature on him in the latest USA Shooting News magazine here.
In Men’s 10-meter Air Pistol also contested Sunday, James Henderson (USAMU/Midland, Georgia) and Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) finished 26th and 27th while Greg Markowski (Columbus, Georgia) finished 80th.
Up next in Changwon on Monday (Korea time) is competition in Women’s Three-Position Rifle and Women’s Air Pistol. Qualification for both begins Sunday at 8:00 pm ET.
For results and a schedule of activity at World Cup Changwon, click here.
About USA Shooting
USA Shooting, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, was chartered by the United States Olympic Committee as the National Governing Body for the sport of shooting in April 1995. USA Shooting’s mission is to prepare American athletes to win Olympic medals, promote the shooting sports throughout the U.S. and govern the conduct of international shooting in the country.
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