He beat his teammate Bailon, securing the last Gold medal of the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Nicosia, today.
The 2010 World and European Champion Alberto Fernandez of Spain won today’s Trap Men final, the last medal match of the 2016 ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Madrid’s champion beat his teammate Antonio Bailon of Granada in an all-Spanish gold medal match. The duel was breathtaking: 15 targets where indeed not enough to separate them, as they both scored 11 hits, and they had to continue shooting for the brightest medal in a tie-breaker.
After they both hit the first shoot-off clay, Bailon missed his second target, letting Fernandez to climb atop of the podium.
The 32-year old shooter, ranked 7th in the world, had already won four world cup medals in his career, including two golds, before today’s match. Bailon (31), currently ranked 66th, had only won one world cup stage, two years ago, in Munich.
Today’s tuned into a great test ahead of the Olympics: Spain has only one Rio 2016 Quota place in the Trap Men event, claimed by the same Fernandez last year. The Quota is assigned to the country, and it’s then the coach who decides who is going to compete in the Games.
“The decision is taken: Alberto will go the Rio,” confirmed the Spain’s head coach Jose Luis Perez, following today’s medal ceremony.
“It hasn’t been an easy match. The weather did not help us, with a lot of wind blowing during the final. It has been tough, and I feel really proud and a bit lucky that I made it,” said Fernandez, commenting his day. “I will be going to the next ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, which is an Olympic test event. It will be a very important match for me, as I want to get ready for the Games.”
“Getting into the final with my teammate Bailon has been really great, even if I felt a bit nervous. He’s one of my best friends, as well as an excellent shooter. I am happy that we made it together, that we share today’s podium. I am proud of our team!”
The two Spanish teammates had tied also at the end of the semi-final with 13 hits out of 15 targets, and they had to pass through a shoot-off against Turkey’s Yavuz Ilnam (29) to advance to the medal match.
After loosing the shoot-off, Ilnam met the reigning Olympic Champion Giovanni Cernogoraz (CRO) in the Bronze match. The neck and neck duel ended up in favor of the 33-year old Croatian champion, who secured today’s Bronze with 13 hits to Ilnam’s 12.
Cernogoraz, who is qualified for Rio 2016, is considered one of the favorites in the run up of the Games. Currently ranked third in the world, he won the 2015 ISSF World Cup title six month ago, at the final held here in Nicosia last October.
Following the medal contenders, the two Italian teammates Luca Miotto (20) and Daniele Resca (29) closed the semi-final in 5th and 6th places, respectively. The two shooters had led the qualifications, placing atop of the scoreboard with an equal score of 122 hits out of 125 targets. But tables turned as the semi-final began: Resca missed his first four targets, one after the other, and two more clays in the second half of the match, ending up with a score of 9 hits. Miotto nailed five zeroes throughout the semi-final, closing with 10.
The Trap Men Final concluded the 2016 ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Nicosia, where 373 athletes coming from 61 countries competed in the five Olympic Shotgun events.
The ISSF World Cup Series moves now on to Rio de Janeiro (BRA), where a combined world cup stage in rifle, pistol and shotgun events will be held from the 13th through the 25th of April, serving as an Olympic test events.