Colorado Springs, CO -(Ammoland.com)- As the days and opportunities to earn World Cup medals, Olympic quotas and selection points dwindle for USA Shooting rifle and pistol athletes, two men capitalized on the opportunity today at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan – One winning a silver medal, and the other earning a nomination to the U.S. Olympic Team.
Three-time Olympic medalist Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey, pictured left) picked up his fourth World Cup medal this season when he won silver in Men’s Prone Rifle. Emmons qualified for the Final in second place with a score of 628.3. Once in the Final, Emmons moved his way up the leaderboard in the first 10 shots, then spent the final 10 shots chasing eventual gold medalist Kirill Grigoryan of Russia, right down to the last shot. Grigoryan bested Emmons for the gold, 209.3 to 208.4. Tomas Jerabek of the Czech Republic would win the bronze medal.
Pan American Games silver medalist Michael McPhail (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Darlington, Wisconsin) also qualified for the Final in fourth place with a score of 627.9. In the Final, McPhail was in the midst of the pack until a 9.7 on his tenth shot eliminated him in seventh place. McPhail’s USAMU teammate Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Alabama) finished in 42nd place with a score of 620.9.
Though two-time Olympian Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, Colorado, right) didn’t win a medal in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol today, his sixth-place finish earned him the required amount of points within USA Shooting’s Olympic Points System to earn outright selection, and thus avoid going through the Olympic selection match process. The official designation, however, won’t happen until after the World Cup Final in Munich, German next month. All Olympic Team nominations must be submitted and approved by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The U.S. has earned two Olympic quotas in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and the second spot will be determined through the Olympic selection match process.
For more information on quotas, selection points and the Olympic selection match process, visit http://www.usashooting.org/
Sanderson narrowly secured the sixth and last position in the Final with a score of 582. Following Qualification, he was tied with Ruslan Lunev of Azerbaijan, who also shot a score of 582. Sanderson, however, would edge him out for the Finals slot by “inner tens,” which are only used in tie-breaking situations and are based on the number of hits to a smaller, concentric ring inside of the ten ring on a target. Sanderson bested Lunev in inner tens, 18 – 14.
Once in the Final, Sanderson was the first athlete eliminated, following a shootoff with Gurpreet Sigh of India and eventual silver medalist Jiajie Lao of China. Haozhe Hu of China won the Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol gold medal and Boris Artaud of France won the bronze.
Five-time Olympian Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) finished in 29th place with a score of 573 and Pan American Games gold medalistBrad Balsley (USAMU/Uniontown, Pennsylvania) finished in 38th place with a score of 567.
Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) was the only U.S. athlete to advance to tomorrow’s Qualification round for Women’s Three-Position Rifle. As Beard earned a quota in Women’s Air Rifle at World Cup USA, she is ineligible to earn the remaining quota the U.S. needed in the Three-Position event. Of note, however, in Women’s Three-Position Rifle is 17-year-old Morgan Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland), who although only shooting for a Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) at this World Cup, shot a world-class score of 585 during today’s match. For more information about MQS and Olympic eligibility, click here.
Men’s Air Pistol will also be contested tomorrow with 2008 Olympian Brian Beaman (Selby, South Dakota), Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) taking the line. Beaman and Mowrer will also be looking to earn the remaining quota available in this event.
Follow along with scores and updates on the ISSF Live Ticker: http://www.issf-sports.org/
*Photos courtesy of ISSF/Nicolo Zangirolami
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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.