Golden Start: Emmons’ Road to Rio Starts with Gold in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Thailand (March 8, 2016)

Matt Emmons’ Road to Rio got the golden start he was looking for as he closed the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand with a gold medal in Three-Position Rifle. Photo credit: ISSF Matt Emmons’ Road to Rio got the golden start he was looking for as he closed the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand with a gold medal in Three-Position Rifle.  

Ranked second in the world in this event, Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey) got into the Finals with the second-best qualification score of 1169. Once there, he’d finish the first position (kneeling) in third place with 151.7 points, and then climbed up into second after the Prone series with 307.8 points.

Facing off against 2010 Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist Serhiy Kulish of Ukraine (22) through the Standing series, Emmons moved into the lead and gained a narrow margin of 1.7 points on his opponent before the last shot. Closing the match with a 9.6, the American athlete left no chances for Kulish, securing the gold and leaving the Ukrainian shooter in second with 456.8 points.

“You never know what’s going to happen on that last shot, but I have been working on that,” said Emmons, the three-time Olympic medalist.  “As I get older and shoot more finals, I can never say that it gets easier. It’s always challenging when you’re standing up there, going for the medals. Luckily, recently I have been shooting a lot of good shots.”

Emmons is using every competition in lead-up to Rio as the litmus test he’ll use to ensure maximum readiness come August.  “Every cycle you learn what was good and what was bad. I wouldn’t say there’s anything particularly unique which I am doing to prepare for Rio,” he said.  “There’s is pressure on everyone, going into the Olympics. I want to go there, and just be prepared and feel that I am in control of what I am doing. I never would say that I am going to go there to win, because at the highest level there are so many guys that are very, very good.”

The 2006 Junior World Champion, Cao Yifei of China joined Emmons and Kulish on the podium with bronze.

Emmons was impressive throughout the World Cup over the three events and six straight days of training and competing.  He finished 11th in Air Rifle & seventh in Prone as well. In the last six World Cup events he’s competed in he's earned six medals (3 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze).

Amidst the crème de la crème of the shooting world, USA Shooting team members put forth a promising performance in Thailand that included two medals, seven Finals appearances and 17 top-20 results.

Will Brown (Twin Falls, Idaho) came through in a big way by delivering a silver medal in Air Pistol. Brown’s last World Cup medal came back in 2013 when he made his emergence as one of world’s top air pistol shooters, winning gold at World Cup USA. He nearly got into the Finals in his other event of Free Pistol, finishing 12th, just one point away from a potential Finals spot.  

Michael McPhail (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Darlington, Wisconsin) got into the Finals in Prone Rifle, finishing fourth. 

The World Cup match began with Sarah Scherer (Woburn, Massachusetts) marking her return to international competition with a stirring performance in Air Rifle that included making the Finals and finishing eighth. The 2012 Olympian is back competing following a 22-month World Cup absence that included two back surgeries and almost forced her out of the sport. She finished eighth in Three-Position Rifle later in the week. Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana) finished fourth in Three-Position Rifle as well.   

For a recap of the medal winners and records scored during the ISSF World Cup in Bangkok, click here.

Five U.S. Paralympic Team members depart Thursday for Bangkok, ready to now test their shooting skills on the same ranges, March 15-18.  Look for the preview on Friday, March 11.  The ISSF World Cup Series will now move on to Nicosia, Cyprus, where the first ISSF Shotgun World Cup Stage of the season will be conducted March 19-24.  A full U.S. Team preview will be released Wednesday, March 16. 

Editorial assistance and photo provided by the International Shooting Sport Federation. 

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