Abeln Silver, Juniors Shine at ISSF World Championship
CHANGWON, South Korea (September 8, 2018) The Junior stars of the USA Shooting Team shined today on the Shotgun field and the Pistol range at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championship in Changwon, South Korea.
Winning silver in 25m Junior Women’s Sport Pistol was Katelyn Abeln (Douglasville, Georgia). Abeln entered the Final with a score of 576, the fifth-highest score in Qualification. Qualifying for the Final as well in the top position was Sarah Choe(Los Angeles, California), who finished the match with a score of 582 – a score that would have put her just two points out of a potential Finals berth in the Open (Adult) 25m Women’s Sport Pistol competition at this year’s World Championship.
Once in the Final, Abeln jumped to the front of the pack early, sharing the lead with eventual gold medalist Xiaoyu Wang of China. After the first six series, Wang and Abeln were tied with 18 hits, but Wang would pull away with three perfect, five-shot series to secure the gold with 37 hits. Abeln fought through two shoot-off series with eventual bronze medalist Anna Dedova of the Czech Republic to win the silver medal with 27 hits. Choe was eliminated in sixth place with 11 hits.
“I wasn’t expecting this!” said Abeln. “I didn’t have any expectations. I haven’t had bad competitions, but not what I’ve wanted over the past couple of months. Going into Sport Pistol, I was just here to finish it – I go home tomorrow – and I just thought ‘Hey, it’s the home stretch.’ Didn’t expect to make Finals at all after Stage One, but got into Stage Two and just gave it all I had. I just tried to finish strong and I did!”
Abeln’s highest finish at the World Championship in this event prior to today was when she finished in 25th place in last year’s Junior World Championship in Suhl, Germany. Choe finished in 14th place at that same World Championship – her highest finish prior to today as well.
Abeln said she didn’t even know she made the Final until she heard Assistant Pistol Coach Libby Callahan yell “USA! USA!” and thought it was because Choe had qualified for the Final.
“I thought Sarah made Finals and I was like ‘Yes!’ But then I turned around and my dad pointed at me. I was like ‘What? Really?’ I was shocked,” Abeln said. “This was my first international Final so making it with Sarah was like a dream come true. We hang out all the time. She’s who I spend all my time with at competitions.”
The last World Championship medal won in this event by the United States was in 1998 when Lauren Santibanez won bronze. The United States has never had two athletes in an international Final in Junior Women’s 25m Sport Pistol. Photo Credits: USA Shooting