Air Pistol Opens Pan American Games Shooting Competition

Air Pistol Opens Pan American Games Shooting Competition
Air Pistol Opens Pan American Games Shooting Competition
USA Shooting
USA Shooting

Toronto, Ontario, CAN -( Eight days of 15 shooting events at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games officially kick off tomorrow with the start of medal competition in the Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol events.

The U.S. Pan American Shooting Team brings a newer competitor and a seasoned Olympian in each of the two competitors on the men’s and women’s side. The most decorated of the four U.S. athletes is 2012 Olympian and four-time Pan American medalist Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama, pictured) who won bronze in this event in the most recent Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011.

“Historically Sport Pistol has been my event at these Games, but am going to give it my best shot with air tomorrow,” she said with a wink and a smile.

The rest of Uptagrafft’s Pan Am Games medals have been in Sport Pistol (two gold medals in 2003 and 2007, and a silver medal in 2011). Uptagrafft will also compete in Women’s Sport Pistol later in the week.

She will share the firing line with Courtney Anthony (Lexington, Nebraska) whose first international competition was just two months earlier at World Cup USA in May. Though newer to the international scene, National Coach Sergey Luzov is confident the current two-time National Champion has talent to shoot big scores.

The only U.S. Women’s Olympic Quota in any Pistol event earned thus far was won by Lydia Paterson (Kansas City, Kansas) in Air Pistol at World Cup Munich last month. A quota spot is essentially the entry ticket necessary for a country to compete in Olympic competition in a particular discipline. A country is allowed to earn only two quotas each in Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol, and an athlete can win only one quota for his or her country – regardless of the discipline. One quota each will be awarded in Men’s and Women’s Air Pistol at these Pan Am Games.

More information on selection procedures and quotas for the 2016 Olympic Games can be found here.

On the men’s side, 2012 Olympian and National Championships silver medalist Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) will look to continue Men’s Air Pistol dominance at the Pan Ams as his 2012 Olympic teammate Daryl Szarenski set the Pan Am Record of 583 at the most recent Games in 2011. Teammate Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) will make his Pan Am Games debut.

Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) earned a Men’s Air Pistol quota with his gold-medal win at the Championship of the Americas last year.

Four of the competitors shooting the Air Pistol events have already earned Olympic quotas: Andrea Perez Pena of Ecuador (Sport Pistol), Lilian Castro of El Salvador (Air) and Alejandra Zavala of Mexico (Air) on the women’s side and Jorge Grau Portille of Cuba (Free Pistol) on the men’s side.

Competition starts tomorrow on the men’s side with Qualification at 9:15 a.m. ET and Finals at 1:00 p.m. ET. Women’s Qualification starts at 11:15 a.m. ET with Finals at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Follow along for live updates from the Pan American Games on FaceBook and twitter. Start lists and results are also available on the Toronto 2015 website.

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