Published on 17 Sep 2015

Palmucci (ITA) beats Jungman (USA) at men's Jr. Skeet, wins career's first medal

Alessandro Ceschi

Italy's Palmucci, 18, won the men's junior Skeet event in Lonato. He beat the United States' Jungman (12-11), and won the gold - his career's first medal.

Italy's Valerio Palmucci won the men's junior Skeet event. To win the gold - his career's first medal - Palmucci, 18, beat the United States' Philip Jungman, 20, in the gold medal match by 12 to 11 hits.

Nine targets were missed in the final duel between Palmucci and Jungman. In the first station, Jungman missed two targets; Palmucci missed just one, and took an early lead (3-2). Both athletes had perfect scores in the next station; in the third station, Jungman missed three, and Palmucci extended his lead to two targets (9-7).

In the final station, Jungman hit all of his targets. That got him one target closer, but still behind Palmucci - who won the gold.

Palmucci's road to the gold seemed bumpy at first. In the semifinal, he missed his first target: everyone else hit his. But then Palmucci hit 14 of his next 15 targets, and made the shoot-off for the gold medal match - the gateway to his first place today.

Jungman missed the chance to win his career's first gold. So far, the American has only won a junior bronze at last year's World Championship in Granada.

Another Italian, Cristian Ciccotti, competed for a medal - Ciccotti, 18, and Cyprus's Nicolas Vasiliou faced off in the bronze medal match.

Ciccotti wasn't as lucky as his teammate, and lost to Vasiliou, the 18-year-old bronze medalist.

Already in the first station, Vasiliou started to build his lead. Ciccotti missed two targets; Vasiliou hit them all four, and took the top spot.

It seemed as though Ciccotti could catch up, when he closed the gap with Vasiliou - to just one target - after the third station. But the Italian missed another target in the next station, which let Vasiliou comfortably win the bronze (15-13).

Today, Vasiliou won his first medal in an ISSF competition. Before, he had only won as a junior at European Championships - a bronze at Maribor 2015, a silver at Suhl 2013, and a gold at Larnaca 2012.

Athletes competed in shoot-offs for both the gold and the bronze medal matches.

Palmucci and Vasiliou had closed the semifinal in joint second place with 14 hits. In the following shoot-off, Vasiliou missed his fifth target; Palmucci won, and moved on to compete against Jungman for the gold.

Ciccotti and two other shooters, Finland's Eetu Kallioinen and France's Dylan Chauray, were all tied in third with 12 hits as the semfinal ended. A three-way shoot-off followed. Chauray was the first to give up: he missed his second target; then was Kallioinen, who missed his fourth; Ciccotti hit 4 targets, and entered the bronze medal match against Vasiliou.

Italy made the gold too. In the team competition, Palmucci's 120 hits, Ciccotti's 119, and Matteo Chiti's 118 gave Italy the top spot (357 hits).

Kallioinen missed the podium as he lost a shoot-off. But his country, Finland, won the team silver. It was Kallioinen, together with teammates Lari Pesonen and Timi Vallioniemi, who scored the 351 hits that gave Finland the silver.

Just one hit behind Finland, in third place, was America. Silver medalist Jungman, plus teammates Zachary McBee and Christian Elliott, added up to 350 hits, securing the bronze for their country.

"I feel great," says gold medalist Palmucci. "I've worked well this time. I've been consistent in my training. I've sacrificed a lot. "

"I came here to show what I'm worth. I think I've shown it."