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Sharp shooters have gold in sights

Updated: Mar 22, 2024 Print
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China has finalized a stellar team of 14 athletes for the rifle and pistol competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Packed with multiple world and Olympic champions, the roster was decided after the final stop of the national trials that wrapped up in Xi'an, Shaanxi province on Wednesday.

With China awarded a full quota for all the shooting competitions, the top two finishers in the overall rankings of each event were able to secure their tickets to Paris.

Sheng Lihao, who won a silver medal in his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 at the age of 16, will resume his Olympic journey in the French capital after easily topping the men's 10m air rifle rankings in Xi'an. This time he will shoot alongside Du Linshu, instead of decorated veteran Yang Haoran. Du will also represent China in the men's 50m rifle 3 positions along with Liu Yukun.

In the women's 10m air rifle, 17-year-old Huang Yuting, a two-time world gold medalist in the mixed team event, edged individual world champion Han Jiayu in the final trial to top the rankings as both booked their tickets to Paris. Han also earned a berth in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions, where reigning world champion Zhang Qiongyue will likely be a hot favorite.

World champions Zhang Bowen and Jiang Ranxin will lead China's charge for men's and women's 10m air pistol gold medals. Zhang advanced to the men's final in Tokyo but finished only sixth. Jiang, on the other hand, enjoyed a fruitful campaign in her Olympic debut, bagging a mixed team gold and an individual bronze. They are joined by Xie Yu and Li Xue, the winner of the 2023 World Cup Final.

The 34-year-old Li Yuehong, the reigning men's 25m rapid fire pistol world champion and world-record holder, is the eldest shooter on China's roster. The two-time Olympic bronze medalist will hope it is third time lucky when he goes for gold in Paris. Li's teammate will be Xie Yu, who is 10 years his junior.

"I'm aiming to improve on my performances from my previous Olympic Games. My two Olympic appearances were not bad, but if a breakthrough is what I want, I have to make some changes," said Li, who will bid to become China's first Olympic gold medalist in 25m rapid fire pistol.

World Cup Final runners-up Zhao Nan and Liang Xiaoya will make their Olympic debuts at Paris 2024 in the women's 25m pistol. Liang, who turns 17 next month, is the youngest member of the squad.

The Paris 2024 shooting competitions will be staged from Sept 27-Aug 5 at Chateauroux Shooting Center. China won four gold, one silver and six bronze medals in rifle and pistol competitions at the Tokyo Olympics.

China's rifle and pistol squad:

Men's 10m air rifle: Sheng Lihao, Du Linshu

Women's 10m air rifle: Huang Yuting, Han Jiayu

Men's 50m rifle 3 positions: Liu Yukun, Du Linshu

Women's 50m rifle 3 positions: Zhang Qiongyue, Han Jiayu

Men's 10m air pistol: Zhang Bowen, Xie Yu

Women's 10m air pistol: Jiang Ranxin, Li Xue

Men's 25m rapid fire pistol: Li Yuehong, Wang Xinjie

Women's 25m pistol: Zhao Nan, Liang Xiaoya




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