Finals Trap Men
Slovakia's Varga ready for holidays, with a Gold medal around his neck
ISSF World Cup Shotgun · Nicosia, CYP
Seven years after winning his last world cup, the 36-year old shooter came back atop of an ISSF podium after an endless shoot-off. Now he will be taking some time off, with a clear aim in his sights: the ISSF World Championship.
Qualifications, semi-final and Gold medal match were not enough to decide the medals, at today's Trap Men event. Slovakia's Erik Varga had indeed to go through a thrilling shoot-off, before he could pocket the brightest medal.
The 36-year old shooter from Sladkovicovo qualified for the semi-final with 122 hits out 125 targets, in a windy day at the Olympic shooting range of Nicosia. Then, he finished in second at the semi-final with 14 hits out 15 targets. Good enough to access the Gold medal match, where he met Croatia's 30-year old Josip Glasnovic.
The two finalists ended both missed one target, closing the medal match tied with 14 hits each. And it was a shoot-off to decide the medals. A shoot-off that turned in favor of Varga, who won the duel with 13 hits to Glasnovic's 12.
At the same time, the 2004 Olympic Champion Alexy Alipov of Russia, 37, defeated Czech Republic's Jiri Liptak in the Bronze medal match 15 to 13 hits, finishing on the podium with semi-final score of 13 hits, and a qualification score of 123 hits.
The reigning Olympic Champion, Croatia's Giovanni Cernogoraz, closed the round in sixth place after hitting 10 targets in the semi-final, while the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Champ Michael Diamond of Australia place fifth with 12 hits.
Varga had won his last ISSF World Cup back in 2007, in Changwon, Korea. Seven years are a long time to go through, but the champion never gave up.
“I trained a lot, and this victory is very important to me.” He said. “All the best shooters of the world were competing here today, this was like a world championship.”
Nicosia's shooting range was just the right place to came back atop of an ISSF podium. “I have been shooting many matches, here in Cyprus, since I was a Junior shooter. I like this range, but it's so challenging. The wind makes it difficult, and if you get to shoot on the wrong layout, it can be even harder.”
The shoot-off? Once Varga started, it looked like nobody would stop him. “That has been the hardest part of the match. I trained a lot for shoot-offs. The first five targets are the most difficult ones, but when I get into the rhythm, I could go on forever!”
It has been a tough match, but some rest is front of the winner. “I will be taking some time off, I won't participate in the next world cup. I am looking forward for some holidays in an exotic place, with my kid and my wife. She knows how it feels like after a match, as she's been in the Slovakian national rifle team for years. She understands me.”
Good for Varga, because he's some more traveling to do, before the end of the season. “I will be at the Europeans, and at the World Championship in Lima. That's the aim of the season.”
RESULTS - Trap Men
1. VARGA Erik
2. GLASNOVIC Josip
3. ALIPOV Alexey