By Brittany Nelson, USAS Public Relations & Communications Manager
COLO SPRGS, CO (Oct. 2, 2023) –YanXiao “Xiao” Gong earned the title of World Champion in P3 Mixed 25m Pistol SH1 at the 2023 World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) Championship in Lima, Peru, Sept. 22.
“It is wonderful having both feet back on the ground for the first time in a very long time,” said Gong, a 2020 Paralympian.
He also earned the U.S. a Paralympic Quota in the event for the 2024 Paris Games. Gong’s qualification score of 571 and 16x placed him in the finals where he triumphed over Ukrainian shooter Oleksii Denysiuk who took second.
Gong’s qualification score helped USA win bronze in the team event along with Marco De La Rosa and Mike Tagliapietra’s scores.
Just days later, on Sept. 27, Gong earned his third 2023 WSPS World Championship medal. After qualifying for the final, he bested Jeongdu Jo, of Korea, to earn a bronze medal in P1 Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1.
Gong, a Malibu, California, native, competed in Tokyo and is looking to qualify for his second Paralympic Games in Paris next year. He mentioned that he is looking forward to competing in the trials and is excited for more shooting.
He has been stacking up medals internationally over the past few years. In 2022 he took home three medals from the Arequipa, Peru, Paralympic Grand Prix, and in 2021 he earned four medals at the WSPS Lima World Cup.
Gong’s Paralympic quota in Lima was quickly accompanied by a R6 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 quota earned by John Joss Sept. 28. The Paralympic team now has three quotas for Paris 2024. Jazmin Almlie-Ryan earned the first quota in Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2 at the 2022 WSPS World Championship.
When an athlete earns a quota for the U.S. in a specific event, the U.S. then becomes eligible to have an athlete compete in said event at the Games. Athletes are only eligible to earn one event quota in a four-year cycle.
The Paralympic team is now gearing up for the 2023 Para Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 17-26.
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