Anita North saw shooters flying high in Acapulco, where world records were being smashed almost as fast as the clays.
The first ISSF Shotgun World Cup took place in Acapulco, Mexico, in March. This was the first ISSF event this year where medals, world ranking points and quota places for the 2020 Olympics were available in Olympic Trap and Olympic Skeet.
A high quality field led to high scores across all events, with a number of world records being broken or equalled.
In the Trap Women event Satu Makkela-Nummela from Finland set a new world record in qualification with a score of 123 ex-125. Meanwhile, in the Trap Men, James Willett from Australia scored a perfect 125 ex-125 in qualification.
This is only the twelfth time that a man has achieved this perfect score in an ISSF competition for Olympic Trap since it was first achieved by Giovanni Pellielo in 1994. That’s quite some shooting.
The Trap Mixed Team was another event that saw shooters achieving world records. Three teams, Turkey, Australia and USA, all achieved a near-perfect score of 149 ex-150 in qualification to set a new high score.
Two women – Heng Zhang from China and Samantha Simonton from USA – set a new world record in qualification for the Skeet Women, breaking 123 ex-125 clays apiece. This was also a Junior world record for Samantha.
In the Skeet Men competition Vince Hancock shot perfectly all the way through, equalling the world record with 125 in qualification and then continuing in the final with 60 ex-60.
Congratulations to all the record holders. How long it will be until these records are broken or equalled? Only time will tell.
To the victors the spoils
The Trap Women competition saw six women on 119 shooting off for one place in the final. While Satu from Finland shot superbly in qualification, in the end it was 2012 Olympic champion Jessica Rossi who took victory, with 2018 Commonwealth champion Laetisha Scanlan taking silver with China’s Weiyun Deng taking bronze for her first World Cup medal.
GB interest in the competition saw solid steady performances by all concerned – Charlotte Hollands finished on 113, Kirsty Barr finished on 112 and Ellie Seward on 109.
In Trap Men, as in the women’s event, there were a number of shooters tied for the last place in the final, this time on a score of 123 ex-125 – Nathan Hales needed a shoot off against 5 other shooters including fellow GB shooter Matt Coward-Holley to secure his place.
James Willett continued his dominance in the final – scoring 47 ex-50 (one target short of the World record) to give him the gold medal. Zaher Ahmed from Egypt and Haicheng Yu from China were the other medallists. GB’s Nathan Hales finished in a very strong fourth position, but was eliminated from the final based on bib number. The third GB shooter, Steven Scott, finished on 119.
In the Trap Mixed Team event GB’s Kirsty Barr and Matt Coward-Holley scored 147 in qualification – this meant they had to shoot off to get one of two places in the final.
They secured a place alongside the Australian team, Laetisha Scanlan and James Willett. Kirsty and Matt went on to win the bronze in a highly skilful field, while Laetisha and James took the gold medal.
The USA team, Kayle Browning and Brian Burrows, took silver. The other GB team, Charlotte Hollands and Steven Scott, finished on 142, which put them in 27th place out of 37 teams.
In the Skeet Women competition scores were once again high, which meant that it required a score of 118 to make the final. GB’s Amber Hill shot off against Agnieska Sieracka from Poland to secure herself a place in the final.
The USA’s Kimberley Rhode demonstrated her grit and determination adding to her impressive medal haul over her continuing ISSF career to secure her 19th World Cup gold medal. Chloe Tipple from New Zealand and Donglian Zhang from China joined her on the podium.
Amber finished in sixth place. The other British shooter in the competition was Lara Dale, who was competing in her first World Cup as a Senior. Lara finished with a steady score of 108 ex-125 having gained valuable experience for her future in international competition.
The last event was the Skeet Men. The high-scoring competition continued and Vince Hancock put in a perfect score. Meanwhile, there were seven shooters on a score of 122 ex-125 who had to shoot off for one of two places in the final.
The shoot-off went to Gabriele Rossetti from Italy and Jakub Tomecek from the Czech Republic. In the end the perfect shooting of Vince Hancock proved unassailable and secured him the gold medal, with Gabriele and Jakub joining him on the podium.
GB’s Freddie Killander narrowly missed out on the final with a score of 121. Ben Llewellin finished on 119 and Michael Gilligan on 117 putting them in the top half of the competition field
In the race to Tokyo, it took podium placings to secure quota places. Across the events contested, China came away with three quota places, Italy with two, and Egypt and the Czech Republic with one each.
You can find a complete set of results on the ISSF website. The ISSF competition calendar and the race to Tokyo continue with another World Cup in Al Ain on 5-16 April. We wish British competitors every possible success as they continue to compete on the international stage in 2019.