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Rifle: Three to Compete at World Champs


by Shannon McNamara for MSNsportsNET.com
July 28, 2010

 
  Nicco Campriani

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University rifle All-Americans Nicco Campriani and Michael Kulbacki, along with coach Jon Hammond, will compete at the 50th International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship, July 29 – Aug. 11, in Munich, Germany.

Hammond and Campriani, Olympians at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, will represent Great Britain and Italy, respectively, in the open competitions. Kulbacki will shoot for the United States Junior National Team.

The championship, held every four years and two years after the last Olympic Games, serves as the first opportunity for countries to earn Olympic quota places – a starting position to send athletes to the next Olympic Games.

“To have WVU so well represented at such a large championship is really fantastic,” says Hammond, the fifth-year Mountaineer coach. “As both Nicco and Mike are my recruits, there is naturally some pride there, too. Additionally, this championship offers the WVU program some fantastic exposure.”

Campriani enters the championship as one of the world’s most vaunted international shooters. A two-time National Rifle Association (NRA) first team All-American, the Florence, Italy, native won the 50m men’s rifle prone at the Fort Benning ISSF World Cup on May 30, and the 10m men’s air rifle at the Belgrade ISSF World Cup on July 1. His world rankings include a No. 4 position in air rifle, a No. 5 in prone and a No. 9 in 50m men’s rifle 3 position.

“It’s been such a great summer,” Campriani says. “I’ve trained really hard during the winter, so I’m happy that I can now enjoy the fruits of my work. My work isn’t finished, since the world championship is the most important competition of the year. I know what I can do and I know how to do it. I would like to perform at my best – this could mean finishing in first place, or in 10th place. The only important thing is to enjoy what I’m doing without any regrets.”

“Nicco is going into the championship as one of the best shooters in the world right now,” Hammond says. “Ultimately, it is just one match, and there are no guarantees, but he should have the confidence that he can be very successful.”

 
  Michael Kulbacki

Kulbacki, a 2010 NRA air rifle first team All-American, automatically qualified for the junior national team virtue his third place, 10m air rifle finish at the USA Shooting National Championships on June 19.

“I’ve been training quite a bit, maybe a little too much, since qualifying,” says Kulbacki. “Training is going OK. I want to do well, but I’m going to try to keep the score out of my mind while I’m shooting so I can focus on one shot at a time.”

“By qualifying for the championship, Mike has proven that he has the technical ability,” Hammond, the 1998 junior men’s 50m prone champion, says. “He has his goals and he just needs to focus on a few things so he can achieve them. Most importantly, he needs to soak up this experience, because it’s something you never forget.”

 
  Jon Hammond

Hammond has over a decade’s worth of experience at world championships and on the world cup circuit. In addition to his junior title, he also finished fifth in the 50m men’s rifle prone at the 2008 Rio de Janeiro ISSF World Cup.

“The dream scenario for this week would be to win a quota,” Hammond says. “However, my goals are always performance-based, and I really want to put in a good quality performance and see where that puts me.

“Additionally, given my position at WVU, another goal of mine is to continue to promote the university and our team.”

More than 2,400 athletes from 90 countries will compete at this year’s championship, held at the 1972 Olympic Shooting Range of Munich. Sixty-nine Olympic quota places will be distributed for the 2012 London Summer Games.

International Olympic Committee President Dr. Jacques Rogge will open the championship Friday, July 30. The junior and men’s air rifle competitions and finals will take place on July 31. The 50m men’s rifle prone elimination rounds are on Aug. 1, with the qualification relay and finals scheduled for Aug. 2. The 50m men’s rifle 3 position elimination relays are scheduled for Aug. 3, with the qualification round and finals to follow the next day.

Fans can follow the action at www.issf-sports.org.




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