Young Andrea Vescovi produced a fine display of shooting to lead the Italian dominance as they swept the podium in the double trap event of the Qatar Open Shotgun yesterday.
At the Lusail Shooting Range, the 24-year-old Vescovi managed to overcome his senior and practice partner Daniele di Spigno by four shots (75-71) to win the gold, while teammate Aegnazio Tronca finished third.
The three other shooters, who qualified for the final, were Italy’s Marco Innocenti, Russia’s Vasily Mosin and India’s Ankur Mittal.
“It is a very good victory for me. This was my first title in third appearance at the event and I am very happy to win the gold beating a very strong field,” Vescovi, the 2014 junior world champion, said.
Vescovi had stumbled to an indifferent start with 54 out of 60 in the first two rounds. However, he showed his class with 84 out of 90 in the next three rounds to put himself in line for the gold.
Talking about the conditions, the marksman from Città di Castello said, “It was a windy day, but it’s an outdoor event and we are prepared to shoot in any conditions. I held my nerves to beat my countrymen and friends for my first title here.”
The 42-year-old Di Spigno was satisfied with his silver medal as he said, “I am very happy with my performance as it came against a very competitive field in the very first event of the season. I am also happy with Andrea’s victory. He is a very good shooter and a deserving winner today. He is my teammate and we use to practise together at least twice a week, so it was a friendly competition.”
World record holder Di Spigno is a regular at the Qatar event and is very impressed with the facilities at the range.
“We start our season here every year and I must say the facilities are world class,” the 2016 runner-up said.
Asian Shotgun champion Mittal, who also won silver at the 2017 ISSF World Shotgun Championship in Moscow, was the first to be eliminated from the final, having finished sixth with 24 hits out of 30.
The 26-year-old Indian, who had been in irresistible form last year with a silver in the World Cup in Delhi and following it up with a gold in the World Cup in Acapulco, failed to match his Italians rivals in the first event of the season.
Mittal is a member of the Indian shooting team which will take part in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April this year.
The 45-year-old Mosin, the 2015 world champion, was next to go as he managed to hit only 30 shots and left the field for the all-Italian affair. Rio Olympic silver medallist and 2017 champion Innocenti finished fourth with a score of 41.
Qatar’s Hamad al-Marri, who won silver in last year’s edition, finished 16th, while Abdulbaset Mohsin was 13th. Other Qatar shooters, Masoud Ali al-Adbaand and Rashid Ali al-Athbi, were 17th and 19th respectively.
Promising Indian shooter Manavaditya Singh Rathore won silver in the junior trap event on Saturday. Rathore shot 118 to finish second on the podium behind Italy’s Angelo Scalzone, who shot 119. Germany’s Jeremy Schulz won bronze with a score of 115.
Son of Indian sports minister and Athens Olympics silver medallist, Rajyavardhan Singh, 19-year-old Rathore started with 23 in the first series of 25 shots and improved it to 24 in the next three series, but could manage only a 23 in the fifth and final series.
The Doha event will conclude with Skeet final for men in which local hero and Olympic bronze medallist Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah will be in action on Thursday.
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