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Friday, April 27, 2012

Israeli sharpshooter wins World Cup silver

Olympic team member Sergey Richter takes second place in London championship.

Israeli sharpshooter Sergey Richter won the silver medal in the 2012 Shooting World Cup held in London Saturday.

Richter won 701.1 points and was a mere half a point from winning the gold.

The win also represents a personal record for the 23-year-old from Raanana.

Richter scored 597 points out of a possible 600 in the early 10-meter air rifle standing competition. But after scoring a perfect 100 points in his first two final sets, he missed a shot and scored 99 points in the third.

His fourth set was perfect, but his fifth left him at a disadvantage. Still, once in the finales Richter was able to add 104.1 points to his score and win the silver medal.

Frenchman Edmond Piasecki won the gold medal.

Two other Israelis competed on Saturday as well: Lior Madlal, who scored 588 points and was ranked 57th; and Amy Ben-Heffer, who scored 577 points and was ranked 82nd.



Sergy Rikhter 

Sergy Rikhter (born April 23, 1989) is an Israeli Olympic sport shooter. 

He shares the junior world record in the 10 metre air rifle, and was the 2009 ISSF World Cup champion. He will compete on behalf of Israel at the 2012 Summer Olympics. 

Early Life -  

Rikhter is Jewish, was born in Ukraine, and is now Israeli and lives in Rehovot, Israel. He began shooting in 2002, at 13 years of age, as part of a Gadna (Israel Defense Forces youth corps) program. He then trained with Hapoel Rehovot.

Shooting Career -  

Rikhter trains at the Herzliya firing range, is now a member of Maccabi Ra'anana. He is right-handed, and his "master eye" is his right eye. He is coached by Israeli three-time Olympian Guy Starik.

Rikhter won a gold medal at 20 years of age at the 10 metre air rifle men's final of the 2009 ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany. His qualification score of 599 points was one point short of the world record, and tied the junior world record. He won with 701.7 points. Rikhter said after the match: “This is exciting, I did not expect to finish on the highest step of the podium. This is my fourth time in an international competition!”

That year, the German shooting team Kolber invited Rikhter for trials, and signed him. Rikhter became the team's leading shooter, and a local star. He recalled competing for Kolber, with competitions carried on live television and fans seeking his autograph:
It was like a homecoming in films – fans, club staff, and all. I ... thought the German league would be a minor event, but it was utterly insane. They transformed a basketball arena into a firing range, filled the stands with trumpets, drums, and what not. Everyone was drinking beers and celebrating. I suddenly felt the fans get behind me, and expect me to lead the club to success. I was really moved.
In February 2010, he won the gold medal in the IWK Air Gun competition men's 10 metre air rifle match in Munich. In June 2010, he came in fourth in the men's 10 metre air rifle final at the 2010 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, missing the bronze medal by one-tenth of a point. In June 2011, he was ranked fifth in the world by the ISSF.

He came in seventh in the September 2011 ISSF World Cup final in the men's 10 metre air rifle. He did so after being penalized with a deduction of two points, for being late in reporting for the final. Had the two points not been deducted, he would have finished with a silver medal.

He won a silver medal at the 2011 Changwon, South Korea, World Cup, with 597 points, becoming the first Israeli athlete to qualify for the London Olympics.

Discussing the dismissive attitudes of some fellow Israelis, Rikhter said: "Almost every person who served in the army 'had the best shooting results in basic training', or 'was the IDF champion'. They're all 'expert marksmen'. No one will say, 'hey, wow, that's really something.' Every Israeli is basically the best shooter you can find."

In April 2012, he won the silver medal in the 2012 Shooting World Cup in London, in in men's 10 metre air rifle. His 701.1 points were a personal record.

Rikhter will compete on behalf of Israel at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in men's 10 metre air rifle, having qualified by earning a quota place. After the Olympics, he plans to complete his military service, and to study graphic design.

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