Published on 13 Jun 2024

Tokyo 2020 medallists Stefecekova and Coward-Holley earn timely trap golds at Lonato World Cup Shotgun


Slovakia’s Tokyo 2020 champion Zuzana Stefecekova and Britain’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Matthew Coward-Holley laid down big markers for Paris 2024 with victories in the respective men’s and women’s trap events at the ISSF World Cup in Lonato.

In what was the last ISSF World Cup involving Olympic events before shooting sport competition starts in Paris on July 27, Stefecekova, who also won Olympic silver at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games,  established herself in a lead she never lost with three perfect sequences of five at the start of the final.

She totalled 45 to finish four hits clear of Spain’s world-ranked No. 1, Fatima Galvez.

The 40-year-old Slovakian had made her intentions impressively clear in the morning’s qualifying as she finished five shots clear of Galvez on 124, just one shy of the world record she set en route to gold in Tokyo three years ago.

She thus maintained the form she showed in April when she won the Final Olympic Qualifer in Doha

Bronze went to Australia’s Catherine Skinner, with Britain’s 20-year-old Lucy Hall just missing the podium.

Fifth place went to Italy’s 2023 World Cup Final champion Sylvana Stanco, who was fifth at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and Stefecekova’s team-mate Jana Spotakova was sixth.

For those taking part from the 18-strong Indian team this last stop in Italy is particularly crucial as the shotgun squad for the Paris Olympics will be announced immediately afterwards.

Of the five Indian women taking part, Kirti Gupta finished 26th in qualifying, Manisha Keer 41st, Shreyasi Singh 44th, Rajeshwari Kumari 45th and Rajkuwar Ingle 64th.

Coward-Holley, 29, dominated a talented men’s field as he registered 29 consecutive hits before his first miss and only failing twice more to total 47 – two short of the world record set at this World Cup last year by his fellow Briton Nathan Hales.

Lonato has good vibes as far as Coward-Holley is concerned, as it was where he won the world title in 2019. This was a welcome return to the podium for him at an ideal point in the season.

Home athlete Daniele Resca was his closest challenger, finishing with five perfect sequences to total 45.

Bronze went to China’s Yu Haicheng, who had topped the morning’s qualifying with 124.

Bhowneesh Mendiratta, one of four Indian athletes taking part in this trap men event, did his chances of securing a Paris 2024 a power of good by being the only one to reach the final, finishing fifth.

James Willett of Australia, whose Paris 2024 place was confirmed earlier this week through the Qualification Ranking for the Olympic Games (QROG) system, also earned a timely appearance in the final, finishing fifth ahead of Croatia’s Josip Glasnovic.

Of India’s other entrants in the trap men event Lakshay Lakshay, who was competing for Ranking Points Only (RPO) finished 26th in qualifying, with Vivaan Kapoor 65th, Jaswinder Singh 106th.

The Indian selectors will take form in Lonato into account while giving most weight to results achieved in national trials.