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Bronze medal for Paralympian Michael Johnson and Para athlete Natalie Brunzel

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today saw the New Zealand Shooting Para Sport Team produced the highlight of the 2019 World Shooting Para Sport Championships in Sydney with the pairing of Michael Johnson (Auckland) and Natalie Brunzel (Auckland) winning a bronze medal in the R11 10M Air Rifle Standing Mixed Team event.

Johnson is a 4-time Paralympian and has won 3 Paralympic medals. Brunzel has only been shooting for 2 years and made her World Championships debut in Sydney this week. The pairing matched the world record score in the qualification round and then went on to secure the bronze medal in the final, following closely behind gold medallists Italy and silver medallist Sweden.

Johnson said, "I really enjoyed it today as it was exciting and different. Competing in the team event really added some new elements to shooting that haven't been around for quite a long time for me. Together we bounced off each other and used each other to advance through to the final. I think we made a really good team."

Brunzel said, "It really was fun out there today because shooting is normally just a single sport it was nice having someone else to work with. It was good fun and I enjoyed shooting with Michael - it was kind of like training but just doing it for real. The final was a different style of shooting where we had to alternate each team member shooting and that was quite interesting and getting a rhythm going between us was important."

Malcolm Humm (High Performance Director, Paralympics New Zealand), said "The team have learnt a lot in this environment, and it was great to have two Para athletes, Natalie and Anthony make their World Championships debut."

He continued, "The competition at this World Championships has lifted considerably and there is a group of young Para athletes that are really pushing up the ranks. I would have to say shooting Para sport is one of the most competitive Para sports right now globally. For Michael to make two finals out of three individual events and for himself and Natalie to win bronze in the team event would be the highlights for the team. With only 10 months to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games we will head home and continue to refine our focus on what it will take to win."

Paralympian Greg Reid (Wairarapa) competed in the R6 Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 in a large field and finished 49th.

Both Johnson and Brunzel on behalf of the team expressed their thanks to Robert Berger (team manager) for his hard work, and to the loaders Freddy Crumm, Janelle McGirr and Reena O’Neill for their support throughout the World Championships.

Video livestreaming of the final can be found here - https://www.facebook.com/shootingparasport/videos/378936866319361/

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