The final stage of the 2015 Shooting World Cup took place in Qabala from 6 -16 August, organised jointly by the Gabala Shooting Club and the Azerbaijan Shooting Federation, with the assistance of the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Significance of the final stage

The Qabala stage was extremely important first and foremost because it was the final stage of the regular season of the World Cup for Olympic shooting disciplines and the last chance for many athletes to fight for 34 qualification spots for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Qualification for the World Cup Finals in Munich and Nicosia in September and October was also up for grabs.

The other notable factor was the number of participating countries and athletes. About 1,100 athletes from some 90 countries, as well as a large number of official guests and delegations descended on Qabala. To get here, athletes had to qualify through the preliminary stages held in Mexico, the UAE, South Korea, Cyprus, the USA and Germany.

The importance and prestige afforded by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) to this year’s World Cup meant that unsurprisingly many Olympic medallists and champions were among the shooters in Qabala. The international media also showed great interest in the final stages, which were broadcast live by ISSF TV, the official television channel of the International Shooting Sport Federation. Amongst others, British media outlets BBC Sport and published broad articles on the event.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony took place on 7 August at the Heydar Aliyev Congress Centre. Speeches were given by representatives of the Qabala Sports Club, the Azerbaijani government, the ISSF, the Qabala local government and the Azerbaijani Shooting Federation, praising the high-level organisation of recent major events in Azerbaijan such as the first European Games and highlighting the significance of the World Cup for Azerbaijan.

Following the official opening declared by Mr Olegario Vazques Rana, the ceremony continued with a concert featuring Azerbaijani and foreign music performed by Azerbaijani singers, including performances by the Natig Rhythm Group led by renowned Azerbaijani artist Natig Shirinov, singer and Baku 2015 ambassador Tunzala Aghayeva, and young mugham performer Gullu Muradova.

China on target

The competition itself began on 8 August at the Gabala Shooting Club and the first champions were crowned as early as the first day, when three sets of medals were awarded. Men and women competed in the skeet and 10m air rifle events in which athletes from eight countries won medals, presented by Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Ismayil Ismayilov and Secretary General of the ISSF Franz Schreiber.

The last day of the Qabala World Cup stage saw medals (the 15th and last set) distributed in just one shooting discipline - the men’s trap. European athletes dominated the last day, with experienced Russian athlete Aleksey Alipov winning gold and Croatian (Giovanni Cernogoraz) and Italian (Erminio Frasca) athletes taking silver and bronze respectively. The shooters who came first and second in the final stages qualified for Rio 2016.

Overall, 16 countries were among the medals at Qabala but China achieved the greatest success, leading the medals table with 12 in total, half of which were gold. The USA and Russia took second and third places respectively with five medals each; South Korea won four medals; Italy – three; Austria, Croatia, Iran, UK and Taiwan – two; Czech Republic, France, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Serbia and Japan - one. 18-year-old South Korean Cheongyong Kim became the only athlete to win two medals in the final stages of the World Cup (winning the 10m rifle and coming 3rd in the 50m pistol). In doing so he made history.

The Azerbaijani team

The Azerbaijani national shooting team featured 27 shooters, several of whom were shooting on home territory at the Gabala Shooting Club - Elvin Ismayilov, Emin Jafarov, Pasha Ahadpur, Elchin Babayev and Nurlana Jafarova. Unfortunately our athletes didn’t manage to win a medal or to qualify for Rio 2016. Ruslan Lunyov achieved the best result, taking 7th in the men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol. Of the Qabala-based shooters, Emin Jafarov faired best by taking 31st place in the men’s skeet.

Whilst the World Cup event in Qabala was the last chance for pistol and rifle shooters to qualify for Rio 2016, the shotgun shooters would have another chance at the Shotgun World Championships held from 9-18 September in the Italian town of Lonato.

Olegario Vazquez Rana, President of the ISSF: I’m very pleased to visit Qabala with its mysterious beauty. I liked the equipment and technology on offer at the Qabala Shooting Club. The Stand and Archery Complex is in a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and forests. There is everything here for the competition and the athletes.

In such a way, the latest high-profile shooting tournament held in Qabala took its place in the city’s sporting history, alongside the traditional Grand Prix tournament in memory of Heydar Aliyev. The value shown by international shooting federations towards competitions held in Qabala suggests the city is becoming a global centre of shooting, ready to host further prestigious sporting events in the future.

Tale Heydarov, president of the Qabala Sports Club: For Qabala this is a great sporting event, we think the final stage of the World Cup is the second largest sports events ever held in Azerbaijan after the European Games. We should be proud that an event like this is being held in one of Azerbaijan’s developing cities - Qabala. This is great and I hope that this competition will make a big contribution to promoting Qabala in the world.

World Cup Results


Men’s 50m Rifle Men
1st Zicheng Hui (China)
2nd Alexander Schmirl (Austria)
3rd Qinan Zhu (China)

Men’s 50m Rifle Prone
1st Kirill Grigoryan (Russian)
2nd Matthew Emmons (USA)
3rd Tomas Jerabek (Czech Republic)

Men’s 10m Air Rifle
1st Yifei Cao (China)
2nd Sang Do Kim (South Korea)
3rd Petar Gorsa (Croatia)

Women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions
1st Dongqi Chen (China)
2nd Siling Yi (China)
3rd Anna Zhukova (Russia)

Women’s 10m Air Rifle
1st Elalleh Ahmadi (Iran)
2nd Binbin Zhang (China)
3rd Najmeh Khedmati (Iran)


Men’s 50m Pistol
1st Jiajie Mai (China)
2nd Daehun Park (South Korea)
3rd Cheongyong Kim (South Korea)

Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol
1st Haozhe Hu (China)
2nd Jiajie Lao (China)
3rd Boris Artaud (France)

Men’s 10m Air Pistol
1st Cheongyong Kim (South Korea)
2nd Vladimir Issachenko (Kazakhstan)
3rd Juraj Tuzinski (Slovakia)

Women’s 25m Pistol
1st Lijia Cao (China)
2nd Vitalina Batsarashkina (Russia)
3rd Jingjing Zhang (China)

Women’s 10m Air Pistol
1st Zorana Arunovic (Serbia)
2nd Yuemei Lin (China)
3rd Chia Chen Tien (Chinese Taipei)


Men’s Trap
1st Alexey Alipov (Russia)
2nd Giovanni Cernogoraz (Croatia)
3rd Erminio Frasca (Italy)

Men’s Double Trap
1st Walton Eller (USA)
2nd Steven Scott (Great Britain)
3rd Vasily Mosin (Russia)

Men’s Skeet
1st Vincent Hancock (USA)
2nd Sebastian Kuntschik (Austria)
3rd Gabriele Rossetti (Italy)

Women’s Trap
1st Yukie Nakayama (Japan)
2nd Yi Chun Lin (Taiwan)
3rd Corey Cogdell (USA)

Women’s Skeet
1st Katiuscia Spada (Italy)
2nd Morgan Craft (USA)
3rd Amber Hill (Great Britain)