A galaxy of stars will look to stamp their class once again when the Shooting Para sport events at the Asian Para Games 2022 kick off in Hangzhou from October 23.
The Shooting para sport events, which will be contested over five days will see 101 athletes from 17 nations vying for top honours in the 13 medal events at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre in Hangzhou.
While athletes from China and Republic of Korea are expected to dominate the competitions, but new stars have emerged in the past few years from countries like India who will be ready to spring a surprise.
At the Indonesia 2018 Games, China topped the medals table with 13 medals that had three gold, followed by Korea and Iran.
China’s Paralympic stars Cuiping Zhang, Dong Chao, Yang Chao and Huang Xing will be hoping to win in front their home fans.
Zhang in top form
Zhang showed her top form clinching the gold in the R10 – mixed team 10m air rifle standing SH1 at the Lima 2023 World Shooting Para Sport Championships last month.
In R1 men’s 10 m air rifle, Dong will face a strong challenge from United Arab Emirates’ Paralympic star Abdullah Sultan Alaryani and Republic of Korea’s seasoned star Park Jin-ho who has been in form after his recent World title.
Jin-ho displayed nerves of steel as he overcame compatriot Lee Jangho, the reigning world champion, to take the title.
In fact, Allaryani will be the favourite for R7- 50m rifle 3 position in which he also has the Paralympic gold medal.
In R1 women’s event, China’s Yixin Zhong will be hoping to finish on top in Hangzhou after her surprise victory at the Lima 2023 World Shooting Para Sport Championships in September. But there will be others like Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Avani Lekhara waiting to challenge and aiming for her first Asian Para Games gold.
Thailand will also look to get some medals after their women shooters pulled off impressive results in Lima – with Chutima Saenlar and Somporn Muangsiri capture quota places for Paris 2024 Paralympics.
India in focus in Pistol events
In pistol events, Team India will be in focus after their amazing show from their younger lot at the recent Lima 2023 World Championships.
While Paralympic champion Manish Narwal returned to winning ways after his show in Tokyo 2020 winning his first Worlds title in P1- Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1.
Sixteen-year old Rudransh Khandelwal, though, finished fifth in the same event but took the silver in P4 – Mixed 50m Pistol SH1, his first medal in a major championships.
The young Indian shooters however will be challenged by stars including China’s Yang and Xing besides Kim Jungnam of Republic of Korea who ended second to Narwal in the Worlds.
Javanmardi among favourites
In women’s pistol event, Iran’s Paralympic champion Sareh Javanmardi will be among the favourites. Javanmardi, who has recently given birth to a baby boy, will be hoping to win in front of her new-born. She will also be up in action in the 50 m mixed pistol event where she will defend her title.
Shooting Para Sport, which was included on the Paralympic programme at the 1976 Toronto Games, has featured in the previous three editions of the Asian Para Games and is expected to be one of the keenly contested sports this time around.