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Historic floodlit trap competition at Doha World Cup Final sees Mehelba add gold to his brother’s skeet silver

Trap finals at the World Cup Final in Doha took place under floodlights for the first time – and Egypt’s Abdel Aziz Mehelba provided a further historic flourish to the day by winning men’s gold shortly after his brother Azmy had earned skeet silver in a monumental shoot-out.

Once Britain’s Nathan Hales had finished in bronze position Mehelba and Italy’s Daniele Resca proceeded to the final scheduled sequence of ten shots with the latter leading 37-36.

But an early miss by the 37-year-old Resca, world champion in 2017, enabled his Egyptian opponent to draw level at 41-41.

Mehelba remained resolute during the five final shots, hitting the target with each one to leave Resca needing a hit with his last attempt to stay level.

The Italian’s head soon dropped in disappointment. No pink powder was to be seen from his final effort in the floodlit arena, and Mehelba was suddenly surrounded by jubilant fellow countrymen after a 46-45 win.

“What makes this medal special for me is – I don’t know if it happened before in the history of the World Cup Final – that I have won a gold on the same day my brother has won a silver,” Mehelba told ISSF TV.

“So I wanted to win this medal not only for myself but for both of us in the World Cup Final because I think it’s history.

“It was a very hard final. Until the last target you didn’t know who was going to win – it was amazing.

“In the end it is a game of who stays over the last three targets – they are the most important.

“Actually I was not counting accurately at the end. I knew I had a chance if I hit the last target I would win or get a shoot-off. I didn’t know exactly how it stood, but I knew when I heard people celebrating!

I started on the last target a little bit late, so when I hit it I was happy because I thought, ‘this is the target of the competition.’”

 

 

The novel conditions clearly did not work well for two men who had stood on the Tokyo 2020 podium two years earlier.

Olympic champion Jiri Liptak was the first to be eliminated, and he was immediately followed by Britain’s bronze medallist Matthew Coward-Holley, who had been the top qualifier.

Coward-Holley looked seriously out of sorts after having an appeal for a hit turned down early on, and while he recovered his composure to see off the opening challenge of Liptak it turned out to be merely a stay of execution.

The Briton’s total of 23 out of 30 was beaten by Marian Kovacocy of Slovakia, who scored 24.

But Kovacocy’s form fell apart thereafter and he was the unlucky man to exit before the battle for medals.

The preceding women’s trap final was won by Italy’s Silvana Stanco, who beat Fatima Galvez of Spain 38-37 after her compatriot Jessica Rossi, the London 2012 champion, had recovered from an uncertain start in the unfamiliar floodlit conditions to earn bronze ahead of Poland’s Sandra Bernal.

In a final of markedly inconsistent shooting, the first to depart was the 42-year-old world champion from Chinese Taipei, Yi Chun Lin.

Find all the Doha 2023 World Cup coverage at ISSF - International Shooting Sport Federation - YouTube

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