Countdown to Changwon: Reasons to follow the ISSF World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 21, 2018)

The shooting sport world will descend on Changwon, South Korea over the next couple weeks to compete in the 52nd International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship August 31 – September 15. If the 90 countries competing in the largest celebration of our sport, as well as our 82 athletes that make up the nearly 2,000 athletes in attendance isn’t reason enough to follow along, below are a few additional reasons to follow the USA Shooting Team in their pursuit of World Championship glory as they head to South Korea.

1. Quota Hunting: The World Championship is the first opportunity for shooting athletes to earn those coveted Olympic quotas. An Olympic quota is essentially a country’s ticket to compete in a specific event in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Sixty quotas (four per Olympic event) will be up for grabs in Changwon, which is also the only chance for countries to earn quotas in the three new Olympic events: Air Pistol Mixed Team, Air Rifle Mixed Team and Trap Mixed Team. An athlete can only earn one quota for his/her country and a country may earn up to two quotas per event. At the World Championship in 2014, Brandy Drozd won a Women’s Skeet quota when she won gold in that event, as did Josh Richmond with gold in Men’s Double Trap.

2. Experience: Among the Olympic gold medalists on this World Championship team – Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, New Jersey), Kim Rhode (El Monte, California), Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Georgia) and Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas/U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit) – are 14 individual World Championship medals. At least one of these powerhouse athletes has also been on every World Championship team since 1995. Eller and Hancock lead with four medals a piece and either of them has the chance to be the U.S. record holder in shotgun with five World Championship medals with a win in Changwon. Of the 82 athletes on the team, 12 have Olympic experience. (It’s important to note that Shotgun has more frequent World Championships in addition to the all-discipline World Championship event every four years).

3. Young Guns: The USA Shooting Team heading to Changwon has 37 Junior-aged athletes in tow and expect them to bring in their share of medals as well. Among them is the youngest World Championship team member ever, Carey Garrison in Junior Women’s Trap. Not only is Garrison (Crossville, Tennessee) the reigning National Junior Olympic and Junior National Champion, earlier this month, she finished third overall at the Summer Selection Match when she won the bronze medal. Also look for West Virginia’s Morgan Phillips to continue being a force on the international circuit. Phillips (Salisbury, Maryland) recently won gold in Women’s Prone Rifle where she set a Junior world record, and silver in Women’s Three-Position Rifle at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany earlier this summer. Let’s also not forget about the trio of Katie Jacob (Rochester, Michigan), Austen Smith (Kellar, Texas) and Sam Simonton (Gainesville, Georgia) who swept the Junior Women’s Skeet podium at the Shotgun World Championship last year in Moscow, Russia. The trio also recently swept the podium at the Grand Prix in Porpetto, Italy in May. Smith, who won gold in Porpetto and silver in Moscow also won silver in the Open division at the Summer Selection match as well where she beat six-time Olympic medalist Rhode in the Final. Speaking of Skeet…

4. Women’s Skeet Strength:  Not only are the Junior ranks strong, the Open Women’s Skeet Team is the best in the world; comprised of the top, third and fourth-ranked Women’s Skeet athletes in the world in Rhode, Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) and Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colorado / USAMU). Combined these athletes have won seven World Cup medals this year alone. Connor won silver at the 2015 Shotgun World Championship and Rhode just missed a medal when she finished fourth at the 2017 Shotgun World Championship. In 2018, Rhode has won gold at three of the four World Cups in which she competed, including equaling her own world record at the most recent World Cup in Tucson, Arizona.

5. Family Ties: Though many athletes will refer to their competitors as the “shooting family,” the term is literal for several athletes on this year’s World Championship team. Jack Leverett III (Bainbridge, Georgia), will be competing with his brother Henry and sister Abbie in the Junior Pistol events. All three siblings earned a spot in a Final at the Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany this year. Alex Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida) will compete in the Pistol events and his father, longtime USA Shooting coach and CEO of Pardini USA Vladimir Chichkov (Temple Terrace, Florida), will support USA Shooting Pistol athletes.  The father/son duo of Peter Fiori, Jr. and Peter Fiori, Sr. (Lebanon, New Jersey) will also compete in the Rifle events. Nathalia Granados Gomez’s (East Northport, New York) father is a coach for the Brazilian team, and her brother shoots Rapid Fire Pistol for Columbia, though he is not competing at the World Championship.

6. Collegiate Connection: Ten of the athletes heading to World Championship compete (or will compete in the coming school year) on NCAA Rifle teams with representatives from The Ohio State, TCU, West Virginia, Murray State, Air Force Academy, Kentucky and Ole Miss all heading to Changwon. Several athletes are also a part of collegiate Pistol and Shotgun teams, representing The Ohio State, Martin Methodist and the Coast Guard Academy.

7. Military: Among the 82 athletes on this World Championship team, 21 of them are current or retired servicemembers from virtually every military service branch. Six are current members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

8. Team Events: There’s promise among the Mixed Teams entered in the new events for Air Rifle, Air Pistol and Trap at the World Championship. At the World Cup in Tucson, Arizona last month, the team of Corey Cogdell-Unrein (Eagle River, Alaska) and Jake Wallace (Castaic, California) won gold and Kayle Browning (Wooster, Arkansas) and Will Hinton (Dacula, Georgia/USAMU) won bronze in Trap Mixed Team. The Air Pistol Mixed Team of Alexis Lagan (Boulder City, Nevada) and Nick Mowrer (Butte, Montana) finished in fourth place at the World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia in May – the highest international finish for a Pistol athlete in 2018.

9. Across the USA: The 82 athletes on the USA Shooting Team at this World Championship come from 31 states across the U.S., with the largest representation coming from California (10), Texas (eight) and Georgia (seven).

10. Junior Success All Grown Up: Several athletes on the team have had previous success at the World Championship as Junior athletes, but now compete in the Open ranks. Making the jump most recently to the adult ranks are 2014 Junior Men’s Skeet World Championship bronze medalist Phillip Jungman (Caldwell, Texas/USAMU) and Alex Chichkov, who won gold in 2014 in Junior Men’s Sport Pistol and Center Fire Pistol. Also winning World Championship medals as Juniors are Sarah Beard (Danville, Indiana, silver in Women’s Prone Rifle in 2010), English (silver in Women’s Skeet in 2009), Emmons (bronze in Men’s Prone Rifle in 1998) and Joe Hein (Mason, Michigan, gold in Men’s Prone Rifle in 2002).

Check out the complete World Champs U.S. Team preview in the latest edition of USA Shooting News:

A complete schedule of events at the ISSF World Championship - Events are listed in local time. Changwon is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern Time Zone:

Finals will be broadcast live via the ISSF Livestream channel:

Be sure to follow the team online throughout the World Championship: 

Categories: Press Releases, 2018 World Championship