Casey Wallace of the USA made a golden start to the season as he won the Trap gold under trying conditions at the Qatar Open Shotgun Championship yesterday.
At the Lusail Shooting Range, Wallace shot 10 out of 10 in the final round against young and upcoming Russian shooter Nikita Egorov, who missed his first four shots, to win the gold under clouds and a light drizzle.
Wallace was introduced to shotgun shooting at the age of 11 after he was forced in to a wheelchair for almost two years after breaking his hips in an accident.
The 27-year-old was happy to open his medal account in 2017.
“It was my first outing in Doha. The conditions were a bit tough; it was tough to aim the target as clouds got really dark there and, in the end, the wind picked up. But I am very delighted with the win in the very first tournament of the season,” Wallace said after topping the field of 33 athletes. “I am impressed with the facilities here. The range is very good and the targets were also perfect today,” said the 2012 Lindenwood University graduate.
Talking about the level of the shooters in the competition he said: “The competition was tough as all the shooters were of top quality, but I kept my cool to emerge as the winner.”
The Colorado Springs resident received $7,000 in prize money for yesterday’s win.
“It is always good to win the gold and get some extra bucks as prize money,” the USA star said with a cheeky smile.
Wallace will be going to India for the first ISSF World Cup of the year, which begins on February 23. Ahead of the tournament, which is being held in New Delhi, the win should serve as a confidence-booster.
“I am feeling more confident for the New Delhi World Cup after today’s win. I hope to carry the winning touch to the World Cup.”
Egorov, the 21-year-old Russian, who came through the junior ranks of the national team, shot four targets less than the eventual winner in the final round, in which six shooters qualified, to finish second.
On a day where two young shooters grabbed the spotlight, it was veteran Hamad Alkendi of UAE, who took the bronze.
The 47-year-old finished with a score of 32 in the final to take the third place, while Piotr Kowalczyk of Poland, who led at the start with perfect 13 shots, came fourth followed by Thomas Ward of Great Britian and Talal al-Rashidi of Kuwait.
According to the new ISSF rules the shotgun finals are changed from the current semifinal-medal match format to a progressive elimination final.
The trap finalists were shooting in qualification rank order, with the qualification ranking deciding ties for 6th, 5th, 4th and 3rd places. All finalists have to shoot 25 targets with eliminations or medal ronds occurring after 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 targets.
Double Trap finalists will shoot 15 doubles with eliminations taking place after 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 doubles.
The Double Trap final will be held tomorrow.
USA’s Casey Wallace (centre) won the men’s Trap gold ahead of Russia’s Nikita Egorovat (left) and UAE’s Hamad Alkendi at the Lusail Shooting Range yesterday. PICTURE: Nasar TK