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Privratsky and Kwon earn first World Cup 10m air rifle golds in Granada as 17-year-old Nor-Woll hits the heights

The Granada World Cup concluded in gripping fashion today as Jiri Privratsky regained the lead in the final round to earn the men’s 10m air rifle title and Eunji Kwon won the equivalent women’s title by 0.1 point with her last scheduled shot to quell a late surge from Norway’s 17-year-old Pernille Nor-Woll.

The young Norwegian earned her first senior medal in impressive fashion as she secured a place in the last three via a shoot-off with Poland’s World Cup Final champion and bronze medallist from last month’s World Cup in Cairo, Aneta Stankiewicz, before moving up to take her 21-year-old opponent from the Republic of Korea to the wire.

As the atmosphere at the Shooting Range CEAR de Tiro Olimpico Juan Carlos I in Las Gabia grew in excitement, with spectators clapping and occasionally whooping in acknowledgement of shots fired, Nor-Woll appeared the least affected in the penultimate round as she shot 10.7 and 10.5, moving to within 0.1 of the long-time leader, whose 10.6 had been followed by a 10.1.

At this point Germany’s Anna Janssen, despite scoring three maximums of 10.9, had to settle for a bronze to go with the gold she had won the previous day in the mixed team event as a 10.4 and 10.1 dropped her to 231 – 0.6 behind the Norwegian.

Nor-Woll, who had seen her 10.2 in the shoot-off followed by a 10.0 from Stankiewicz, shot 10.2 again with her penultimate effort but a 10.1 from Kwon meant that the two went into their final scheduled shots exactly level.

There was more noise and excitement as the Norwegian shot a 10.6, but with all the pressure on her Kwon regained her composure and won this tight, high-scoring contest with a 10.7.

At which point her composed face melted into a warm smile of relief as the knowledge that she had secured her first individual World Cup title sank in.

“I am so happy I could cry,” Kwon told ISSF TV.

Nor-Woll commented: “I was super-nervous, but I thought I was kind of an outsider so I was just trying to make the best out of it. I was the youngest and least experienced, so I just had fun.”

Janssen added: “It was just amazing how great the other two scored. It was just crazy – too tight!”

Like Kwon, Privratsky’s final flourish in the earlier final had earned him a first individual World Cup title in this discipline, although it was the fifth of his relatively short career – he has already won four in the 50m rifle 3 positions, including at last month’s event in Cairo.

That triumph in Egypt came when the Czech shooter snatched victory from 19-year-old French prospect Romain Aufrere with his final shot.

Today’s victory by the 22-year-old world record holder was almost as dramatic as he led from the very start, only to fall behind in the penultimate round to Hungary’s 27-year-old Istvan Peni, the 300m Standard Rife Open world champion.

Privratsky’s scores of 9.8 and then 10.0 offered the Hungarian an opportunity which he took with two efforts of 10.7 that saw him reach the final round of two shots leading by 230.5 to 230.4.

Peni maintained his high level of consistency with his penultimate shot, another 10,7, buy the Czech shooter produced the perfect response as he scored a maximum of 10.9 to edge ahead again by 0.1.

The Hungarian’s final effort was a 10.3, and fractions of a second later Privratsky – who won bronze at last November’s World Cup Final in Doha - registered a 10.5 to take gold by 251.8 points to 251.5.

His victory was all the more remarkable given that he had finished ninth in qualifying with 630.4 points and only reached the final because Peter Fiori of the United States, who finished third with 632.2, was competing solely for world-ranking points.

Reflecting modestly on his two consecutive World Cup golds, Privratsky said: “The differences at this level are so small, everyone tries their hardest. I just had two good days of competition where things went well for me.”

Peni commented: “It was a really tight final and I am really happy with my overall score”, adding that he would need to remain busy in European and World Cup competition as he still had to earn an Paris 2024 quota place.

Italy’s 21-year-old Edoardo Bonazzi, who had qualified sixth, claimed a first World Cup medal as he won bronze.

Croatia’s Peter Gorsa was fourth, one place ahead of Austria’s Martin Strempfl, with Mexico’s Edson Ramirez Ramos taking sixth place.

Maximilian Dallinger, who had partnered Anna Janssen to 10m air rifle mixed team victory the day before, was seventh, one place ahead of Norway’s Ole Martin Halvorsen, who had topped qualifying with 633.9.

Reaching the final from a talent-stacked list of 65 entrants was a huge achievement in itself. Among the big names who failed to make the cut were Serbia’s World Cup Final silver medallist Lazar Kovacevic, a bronze medallist in Cairo last month, who finished 11th on 630.0 and the Indian shooter who set a world record of 253.7 points in Egypt, Divyansh Panwar, who was 12th on 629.8.

Sweden’s world champion Victor Lindgren was 20th.

In the women’s final, fifth place went to Stankiewicz’s compatriot Julia Piotrowska, who finished one place ahead of Hungary’s Ezster Meszaros.

Sagen Maddalena of the United States finished seventh, one place ahead of Oceanne Muller of France.

 

 

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