Colorado Springs, CO -(AmmoLand.com)- Thirty-five USA Shooting athletes will get their first look at the shooting venues for the 2016 Olympic Games when the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup kicks off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Thursday.
More than 660 athletes from 88 countries have made their way to the third World Cup of the season, which will also serve as the test event for the Olympic Shooting Centre located inside Deodoro Park, one of three venue clusters for the Olympic Games. The range, opened in 2007, has already hosted the shooting events of the 2007 Pan American Games, as well as an ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in 2008.
Among the 35 U.S. athletes competing are those who have secured Olympic Team nominations thus far; including five of the newest nominees to Team USA who punched their ticket to Rio last week with their wins at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore in Fort Benning, Georgia: David Higgins (San Clemente, California) in Men’s Prone Rifle, Jay Shi (Phoenix, Arizona) in Men’s Free Pistol, Virginia Thrasher (Springfield, Virginia) in Women’s Three-Position Rifle, Emil Milev (Temple Terrace, Florida) in Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and Enkelejda Shehaj (Naples, Florida) in Women’s Sport Pistol.
The competition schedule for this World Cup is similar to that of the 2016 Olympic Games as action starts with the Women’s Air Rifle, Women’s Trap and Men’s Air Pistol competitions.
The women’s rifle events will not only be well-represented by Thrasher, who also won the NCAA Smallbore and Air National Championship titles earlier this year, but her teammates, 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts) and 2015 Women’s Three-Position and Air Rifle National Champion Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana). Beard finished in fourth place in Women’s Three-Position Rifle and Scherer finished seventh in Three-Position and eighth in Women’s Air Rifle at the first ISSF World Cup of the season in Bangkok, Thailand.
Women’s Trap will bring the current leaders of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun to Rio in Janessa Beaman (Colorado Springs, Colorado), two-time Olympian Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and Ashley Carroll (Solvang, California). The U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun resume May 16 – 25 in Tillar, Arkansas.
Read more about how the first half of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun: http://content.yudu.com/
In Men’s Air and Free Pistol, the U.S. will be represented by Shi, along with World Cup Bangkok Men’s Air Pistol silver medalist Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) and 2012 Olympian Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana). Shi also won silver at the 2015 Pan American Games in Men’s Air Pistol.
Later in the week, the men’s rifle events will be led by Olympic Team nominees Higgins, Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) and Michael McPhail (Darlington, Wisconsin/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit). As the top-ranked Men’s Three-Position Rifle shooter in the world, Emmons most recently won gold at the World Cup in Bangkok in March. McPhail, who is currently ranked second in the world in Men’s Prone Rifle, most recently finished just off the podium in fourth place at the Bangkok World Cup. McPhail, Emmons and Higgins will all compete in the Men’s Prone Rifle event.
On the shotgun side, U.S. Olympic Team nominees Morgan Craft (Muncy Valley, Pennsylvania), two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Glenn Eller (Houston, Texas) will compete in Women’s Skeet, Men’s Skeet and Men’s Double Trap respectively.
Reigning World Champion Craft will look to build on her gold-medal win at the most recent World Cup in Cyprus. Craft will be joined by the current leaders in Women’s Skeet at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun: Five-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode (El Monte, California) and Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Rhode most recently finished in sixth-place at World Cup Cyprus.
World Champion Hancock, who finished in fourth in windy conditions in Cyprus, will also look to get back to his winning ways as his event closes this World Cup on April 24.
The ISSF World Cup in Rio officially runs April 13 – 25. For a complete schedule and live results, please visit: http://www.issf-sports.org/
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.