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News posted on Monday 7th November, 2022

Shooting Para Sport World Championships Day 1: New Zealand team off to great start with 12th place finish for O’Neill

Neelam and support staff smiling after R3 event

Shooting Para sport athlete Neelam O’Neill has set the tone for a great World Championships for the New Zealand team. O’Neill competed in the R3 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone event against a dense field of 46 other athletes, achieving a 12th place finish and a score of 631.9 – her best ever at an international event.

Speaking of her result, O’Neill said:

“Super happy with it. It was really good knowing that what I’ve been doing so far is paying off. Now it’s just onwards and upwards!”

Like teammate Natalie Brunzel, O’Neill had hoped to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, but New Zealand was unable to earn slots because of COVID-related travel restrictions. The 2022 World Championships are an opportunity for redemption after a long time away from international competition. Says O’Neill:

“It was really good being back on the international stage against the best shooters in the world.”

The Auckland-based Para athlete hopes that this World Championships will help to get her to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Unlike most of her competitors, O’Neill competes across both air rifle and air pistol events. She is in the SH1 sports class, having a loss of muscle power through spina bifida. (More information on classification in Shooting Para sport can be found below.)

Competition continues Tuesday with Michael Johnson and Natalie Brunzel competing in the R4 Mixed 10m Air Rifle Standing events.

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About Shooting Para sport and the World Championships

Shooting Para sport is the sport of shooting for Para athletes who have a physical impairment
leading to reduced function in the lower and/or upper limbs.

Classification provides the structure for fair and equitable competition to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. Classification groups Para athletes into a sport class according to the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairment. In Shooting Para sport, there are three different sport classes:

  • SPORT CLASS SH1 (PISTOL). Para athletes with upper and/or lower limb impairment competing in pistol events are in the SH1 class.
  • SPORT CLASS SH1 (RIFLE). This sport class is designated to Para athletes with lower limb impairment for competition in rifle events.
  • SPORT CLASS SH2 (RIFLE). This sport class is for rifle events only, and is designated to Para athletes with upper limb impairment (which necessitates them to use a shooting stand to support the rifle), all or not in combination with lower limb impairment.

The 2022 World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) World Championships take place in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates from 3–18 November.

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