By Brittany Nelson, USAS Public Relations & Communications Manager
SANTIAGO, CHILE (Nov. 21, 2023) – Marco De La Rosa earns the title of 2023 Parapan American Games Champion in P3 Men’s Air Pistol SH1 in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 19, and secures the U.S. a Paralympic quota for Paris 2024.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” said De La Rosa, a Marine Corps veteran. “When I was in there, yeah, I was nervous, but I was just doing my process and kept on going. I kept seeing that it was me against the Cuban and it was exciting. We were looking at each other and smiling like ‘this is getting tight’.”
De La Rosa clenched gold by trumping over Angelo Di Loriga of Cuba. The pair battled it out up until the very last shot. De La Rosa finished with a score of 227.6 and Di Loriga with a 226.7.
YanXiao Gong finished in third, putting two Team USA athletes on the podium. The duo also shared the podium alongside Mike Tagliapietra on Nov. 18. They took home all three medals in Mixed P3 25m Sport Pistol SH1.
De La Rosa, a Chicago, Illinois, native who now resides in San Antonio, Texas, began shooting eight years ago through his local Veterans Affairs chapter. He chose pistol over rifle and a little bit of friendly competition motivated him to improve his marksmanship skills.
“We all started competing against each other and the loser had to buy coffee,” said De La Rosa. “I got better quick because it was Starbucks [coffee] and that stuff is $5 a cup.”
De La Rosa continued to excel after being coached by In Kim in California. With a new set of skills in his back pocket, he shot a match in 2015 with a score of 552.
“They all thought it was a fluke,” said De La Rosa. “But then I went to a competition in Poland, got second place and earned a Paralympic quota.”
De La Rosa mentions that making friends all over the world has been the best part of his shooting journey.
“Every time I go to their countries we exchange gifts,” said De La Rosa. “I love them, and I know they love me. In every country I go to they are excited to see me, and I am excited to see them.”
De La Rosa is walking away with two medals from his second 2023 Pan American Games competition. His gold is accompanied by a silver in Mixed P3 25m Sport Pistol SH1. Air pistol and sport pistol shoot two different types of ammunition and differ in the scoring and match format.
“I am still kind of new at sport pistol,” said De La Rosa. “I am still trying to learn the rapid (portion). I am good to go with the precision. With air, you have to take your time, it is unforgiving. You do anything with the front sights and it’s a 9.7 or 9.9.”
USA Shooting has earned total of six medals at the 2023 Parapan American Games:
- YanXiao Gong: Gold, Mixed P3 25m Sport Pistol SH1
- Marco De La Rosa: Silver, Mixed P3 25m Sport Pistol SH1
- Mike Tagliapietra: Bronze, Mixed P3 25m Sport Pistol SH1
- Marco De La Rosa: Gold, P3 Men’s Air Pistol SH1
- YanXiao Gong: Bronze, P3 Men’s Air Pistol SH1
- Stetson Bardfield: Gold, R5 Mixed Air Rifle Prone SH2
For official results and scores, visit: https://para.results-santiago2023.org/#/discipline/SHO/schedule/daily/2023-11-18
USA Shooting would like to thank the NRA Foundation, our platinum level sponsor, for their support to the team. Their contributions are helping our athletes top the podium at the 2023 Parapan American Games.