By Gary Anderson

March 26 - Matt Skelhon impressed on home soil claiming gold and silver medals in the first IPC Shooting World Cup of the year ©Getty Images Former Paralympic gold medallist Matt Skelhon led the home charge for medals in the first International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Shooting World Cup of the year in Stoke Mandeville by claiming gold and silver medals in the rifle competitions.

Lorraine Lambert, Deanna Coates, Stewart Nangle, James Bevis and Richard Davies also secured podium positions for Great Britain at the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.

The event held greater significance this year as it also offered athletes the opportunity to start earning qualification points for Rio 2016 and saw more than 100 competitors from 23 countries taking part.

Skelhon, who followed up his gold in Beijing with silver at London 2012, took the men's R1 10 metre air rifle standing SH1 title in Stoke Mandeville by scoring 203.3 points to finish ahead of Ukrainian duo Iurii Stoiev and Andrii Doroshenko.

The 29-year-old went on to secure a silver medal, finishing behind reigning Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova of Slovakia, in the mixed R3 10m air rifle SH1 event with Lambert taking the bronze.

"It was a good start to the year personally for me and for the team," said European champion Skelhon.

"Hopefully we'll keep it going all the way to the World Championships."

Vadovicova also finished ahead of a Briton in the women's R2 10m air rifle standing, but this time it was Coates who had to settle for silver ahead of Norwegian Monica Lillehagen.

Davies claimed the other rifle medal for Britain after finishing in third place behind the Ukraine's Vasyl Kovalchuk and winner Jason Maroney from Australia, who set an Oceania record of 210.1 on his way to victory in the mixed R4 10m air rifle standing SH2 event.

Australia's Jason Maroney took gold in Stoke Mandeville with an Oceania record in the mixed R4 10m air rifle standing SH2 event ©Getty Images Australia's Jason Maroney took gold in Stoke Mandeville with an Oceania record in the mixed R4 10m air rifle standing SH2 event ©Getty Images

Kovalchuk also finished ahead of Bevis in the mixed R5 10m rifle prone SH2 competition but had to make do with another silver, as this time he could not get the better of Finland's European bronze medallist Minna Leinonen.

In the pistol events, Hungary's Krisztina David beat Azerbaijan's reigning European champion Yelena Taranova in the women's P2 10m air pistol SH1 competition, setting a world and European finals record of 196.0 in the process.

Taranova's compatriot Kamran Zeynalov went one better in the men's equivalent, finishing clear of Swede Hakon Skold and Nangle.

All shooters will be gearing up for this year's World Championships in Suhl, Germany which is due to take place from from July 17 to 26.

But before then there are two more World Cup meetings starting with Szczecin, Poland, in May followed by Fort Benning, United States in June.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related Stories
March 2014: 
Shooting to begin qualifying process for Rio 2016 Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville
November 2013: 
Shooting star on target in IPC Athlete of the Month poll
October 2013: 
Skelhon takes final day European shooting spoils for Britain
October 2013: Vadovicova fires way to third gold and European record
June 2013: IPC Shooting World Cup returns to birthplace of Paralympics