Friday, 26 December 2014
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By Daniel Etchells
Rio 2016 hopeful Mike Tagliapietra has been named USA Shooting's Paralympic Athlete of the Year for 2014.
The 47-year-old made three finals at the 2014 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Shooting World Cup held in the US at Fort Benning, finishing fourth, sixth and seventh.
Shooting in the P3 25 metre mixed sport pistol event at the IPC World Championships in Suhl, Germany, Tagliapietra finished fifth overall in qualifying out of 39 competitors but had to settle for an eighth-place finish after being eliminated during the semi-final round.
Despite this, the man from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, earned a Paralympic quota spot for Rio 2016, joining rifle shooter McKenna Dahl in achieving that goal in 2014.
Tagliapietra, paralysed from his mid-back down following a car accident in 2003, was a competitive wheelchair racer before he fully committed to the shooting sports.
The pistol athlete, who started shooting competitively in December 2011, states on USA Shooting's official website that his favourite quote is that of American author and poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox, which reads: "There is no chance, no destiny, no fate that can hinder or control the firm resolve of the determined soul."
Inspired by this, his other career highlights include earning a gold medal and two bronze medals at the 2013 IPC-approved Brazil Open Championships and claiming a bronze and a fourth-place finish during his IPC World Cup debut in Thailand last year.
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