By Gary Anderson

October 22 - Germany's Natacha Hiltrop announced her arrival on the international shooting scene by taking European gold in AlicanteGermany's Natascha Hiltrop caused a big upset at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Shooting European Championships after seeing off the challenge of three Paralympic champions in the mixed SH1 R1 10 metre air rifle competition in Alicante.

The talented 21-year-old would have been expecting to put up a good performance and perhaps challenge for a minor medal considering she was up against France's reigning Paralympic champion Cedric Fevre, as well as Beijing 2008 champions Veronika Vadovicova of Slovakia and Britain's Matt Skelhon.

It was Vadovicova who started off strongly as she looked to add to her gold medal from yesterday's women's SH1 R2 10m air rifle standing competition as she lead the standings for the majority of the final.

Skelhon and the Ukraine's Iurii Stoiev also looked strong as the rounds passed, while Fevre and home favourite Juan Antonio Saavedra suffered shock eliminations early on.

In the meantime, Hiltrop was progressing through the rounds consistently before giving notice of her undoubted talent and potential to be a dominant force, posting scores of 10.9, 10.6, 10.8, and 10.5 in her final two rounds.

The much more experienced Vadovicova had no answer to the German's impressive scoring, losing out on the European title by just 0.2 after registering final round scores of 10.4, 10.8, 10.4 and 10.7.

Stoiev held off the challenge of Skelhon to secure the bronze medal.

"I really can't believe it," said Hiltrop.

"I'm really happy and excited but totally exhausted now.

"At the beginning I was a bit afraid because I scored a 9.6 but I just focused on every shot.

"It's like a dream."

Great Britain's Matt Skelhon just missed out on an individual medal on day two at the IPC Shooting European ChampionshipsGreat Britain's Matt Skelhon just missed out on an individual medal on day two at the IPC Shooting European Championships

Vadovicova a did manage to claim a second gold medal of the Championships and a world record after her and teammates Radoslav Malenovsky and Josef Siroky secured the team title with a score of 1888.2.

Skelhon, Lorraine Lambert and Benjamin Jesson took home the team silver for Britain, while Russian trio Tatiana Ryabchenko, Andrey Kozhemyakin and Sergey Nochevnoy finished with bronze.

Live results and coverage of the Championships, which are due to continue until Friday (October 25), are available on the IPC Shooting Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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