Shooting stars converge on Rabat for ISSF Shotgun World Cup

The big guns have gathered in Rabat for the second ISSF World Cup of the Olympic season – and the focus in the Moroccan capital is upon the shotguns.

Nine of the 12 medallists in shotgun at last month’s opening World Cup in Cairo will be in action at the shooting range Club Les Chênes de Tir et de Loisirs.

And the standard of the competition will be pushed even higher by the presence of two United States shooters who have already established themselves as Olympic legends in Vincent Hancock and Kimberly Rhode.

Hancock, 34, won men’s skeet gold at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Games and has also amassed five world titles, the first of them in 2005.

Rhode, 44, a member of the ISSF executive committee, won double trap gold at the Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 Olympics before claiming gold, silver and bronze in the women’s skeet at the London 2012,  Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Games respectively.

Both Americans will be focusing on the skeet finals due to take place on Sunday (February 11) and the following day’s skeet mixed team event.

Tomorrow will see the finals of the women’s and men’s trap events, with Kazakhstan’s Mariya Dmitriyenko and Alberto Fernandez of Spain seeking second successive World Cup titles.

Qualification today in the men’s and women’s trap was delayed by an hour due to foggy conditions.

Current world No.1 Dmitriyenko will face the Spanish opponent whose miss with her final shot offered her the chance to win 40-39 in Cairo, Fatima Galvez, who won Tokyo 2020 gold in the mixed trap team with Fernandez.

Cairo bronze medallist Alessandro Perilli, world-ranked five, will also be in the field, as will China’s world No.2 Liu Wan-yu,  Turkey’s Rumesya Kaya, world-ranked equal sixth, Puerto Rico’s Augusta Campos-Martyn, India’s world 10th ranked Manisha Keer and Sandra Bernal of Poland.

Italy, meanwhile, will field the London 2012 champion Jessica Rossi, while the United States will be further represented by the 2019 world champion, Ashley Carroll.

Fernandez, who claimed men’s trap gold in similarly dramatic circumstances to Galvez in Cairo, will face Turkey’s 41-year-old four-time Olympian Oguzhan Tuzun, who took bronze in the Egyptian capital.

Tuzun’s compatriot Tolga Tuncer is also in the field, as is Qatar’s Saeed Abusharib and Finland’s Juho Maekelae.

Other major contenders include Britain’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Matthew Coward-Holley, Croatia’s world champion and London 2012 gold medallist Giovanni Cernogoraz and Egypt’s gold medallist at last November’s World Cup Final in Doha, Abdel Aziz Mehelba.

While Mehelba’s brother Azmy, who won men’s skeet gold at last month’s home World Cup, will not be in Rabat, the silver and bronze medallist from Cairo will in the form of Britain’s Ben Llewellin and Sven Korte of Germany.

The field also includes India’s current world No.3 Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, whose silver medal at last month’s Asian Olympic Qualifier in Kuwait earned his country a Paris 2024 quota place.

Kuwait’s 40-year-old Mohammad Aldaihani, who also earned his country an Olympic quota place in taking bronze in his home competition, will also contest a medal in Rabat, as will his compatriot Abdullah Alrashidi.

The field also includes Denmark’s Emil Petersen, who beat Mehelba 26-25 in one of the sport’s great shoot-offs to claim victory in last year’s World Cup Final.

Reem Al Sharshani is the only Cairo World Cup women’s skeet medallist who is also present here – she took individual bronze and gold in the skeet mixed team and is currently ranked world No.1.

Also in the hunt for medals will be India’s 19-year-old Raiza Dhillon, currently world-ranked four, who earned her country a Paris 2024 quota place for women’s skeet after taking silver in Kuwait,

Others to watch out for include Lucie Anastassiou of France and Kazakhstan’s World Cup Final gold medallist Assem Orynbay.

All finals will be accessible live via ISSF TV on the ISSF You Tube and Facebook sites.



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