For U.S. air pistol athletes hoping to compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the two-stage selection process is one that covers multiple days of shooting spread out over multiple months.
That process was underway this past week with the Winter Airgun Championships, serving as Part I of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Airgun, held at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Among the athletes who are now closer to that coveted team spot and the chance to represent the U.S. next summer are Olympian Nick Mowrer, who led the way following Monday’s men’s air pistol trials, and current runner-up Hunter Battig. Alexis Lagan emerged as Winter Airgun Championships winner in women’s air pistol.
The first stage of air pistol trials took place Saturday through Monday. Mowrer, the 2019 air pistol national champion and a 2012 Olympian in free pistol, totaled 1,163 points to lead the field heading into February’s final stage. Battig was second with 1,146 points and Jack Leverett III was third with 1,142 points.
Mowrer earned the U.S. its second of two Olympic quotas in men’s air pistol when he claimed silver at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. James Hall earned the first when he won gold at the 2018 Championship of the Americas; Hall is sixth in the Olympic trials standings.
2016 Olympian Jay Shi and three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson are currently fifth and eighth, respectively.
Lagan, who is also currently leading the Olympic trials in sport pistol, shot her way to the top of the pack in air pistol as well with a total of 1,144 points. Not far behind her is 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft, who is also second in the sport pistol trials, with 1,142 points, and in third is Miglena Todorova with 1,129 points.
The U.S. did not earn any quotas in women’s air pistol, but those who make the Olympic team in sport pistol could enter both events if they have the minimum qualification score for air pistol; they would also be eligible for the mixed team air pistol event, which makes its debut in Tokyo.
Points from Part I carry over to Part II, which will be held Feb. 24-March 2 for air pistol.