Fort Benning, GA –(Ammoland.com)- Michael McPhail works and trains at the home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning every day.
Today, however, he won a gold medal, an Olympic quota and nearly broke a World Record for Men’s Prone Rifle at the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup for Rifle and Pistol – talk about having a good day at the office.
McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin) had all eyes on him during his final string as the Qualification round of 60 shots was winding down. Though he finished .4 points away from tying the World Record, McPhail wrapped the Qualification round with an impressive 631.9 points, garnering cheers and a round of applause of the crowd in attendance.
“I was thinking about the World Record with 15 [shots] to go!” McPhail said. “I’ve shot above the World Record before in national-level matches, two or three times before. I wanted it pretty bad.”
Fellow American Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) had a strong Qualification round himself, finishing Qualification in second place with a score of 628.2. Emmons had won gold and an Olympic quota at the most recent ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup of the season in Changwon, South Korea in April.
Once the pair had entered the Final, McPhail continued to inch up the leaderboard, spending the first half of the Final trailing in second place behind Ole Kristian Bryhn of Norway. As Bryhn started to falter in his final six shots, McPhail continued to shoot strong to take over the lead and eventually, the gold medal.
“[Entering the Final] I thought I’d have a run of a few good shots in a row, and when it finally happened I thought ‘It’s about time,’” he said.
Bryhn would have to settle for the silver medal and Gagan Narang of India would win the bronze. Emmons was the first athlete eliminated in the Final and finished in eighth place overall.
All of the U.S. athletes in this event: McPhail, Emmons and McPhail’s USAMU teammate Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) survived three Elimination relays yesterday to make it to today’s Qualification round. The Elimination round scores had no bearing on today’s Qualification and is simply used to narrow the field of 125 competitors to 64. Uptagrafft finished in 43rd place with a score of 621.1.
Hear more from McPhail about this match in the video below:
Watch the video of the Men’s Prone Rifle Final below as well:
The first of two stages for the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol event kicked of today as well with Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) currently leading U.S. athletes in fourth place with 293 points. Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) is in eighth place with 292 points and Brad Balsley (USAMU/Uniontown, Pennsylvania) is in 30th place with 286 points. Just two points separate first through 10th place. Stage 2 will resume tomorrow morning with Finals later in the afternoon.
USA Shooting athletes winning Olympic quotas will still have to earn the right to compete in the Olympic Games separately. Prior to today in the Rifle and Pistol events, the U.S. has only earned one quota each in Men’s Air Rifle, Men’s Air Pistol, Men’s Free Pistol, Men’s Prone Rifle and Women’s Air Rifle, with the potential to earn up to an additional 14 for the U.S. prior to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After McPhail’s win today, the U.S. has earned the maximum allotment of quotas (2) for Men’s Prone Rifle. More information on selection procedures and quotas for 2015 World Cups and the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here.
Competition continues tomorrow in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol with medals to be awarded in this discipline and Women’s Air Pistol. For complete scores from the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning, please visit the ISSF website at http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions. View the full World Cup schedule here: http://www.issf-sports.org/competitions/venue/schedule.
ELEY is a Proud Sponsor of the USA Shooting Rifle and Pistol Teams: ELEY Limited, manufacturer of the world’s most consistently accurate rimfire ammunition, has been the Official Sponsor and Official Supplier of .22 rimfire ammunition of the USA Shooting rifle and pistol teams since 2000.
For more information on ELEY and their products, please visit www.eley.co.uk.
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.