Published on 18 Jun 2024

Hancock almost flawless as he and Smith retain Lonato World Cup skeet mixed team title and target “making history” at Paris 2024


Vincent Hancock, three times Olympic skeet men champion, did not make yesterday’s individual final at the Lonato World Cup but he returned to the top of the podium in style today as he and Austen Smith earned skeet mixed team gold for the United States, just as they did at the same venue last year.

Hancock, 35, who will seek a fourth individual title in Paris this summer after winning gold at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020 Games, registered a hit with every one of his 24 shots save the last as he and his 22-year-old team-mate secured gold by a margin of 44-41 over the Kuwaiti pairing of Abdullah Alrashidi and Eman Al Shamaa.

And his partner, Smith, who earned bronze in yesterday’s skeet women final, made it clear that, as reigning world champions they will carry high ambitions into this summer’s Paris 2024 Olympics.

Confirming that they would be the pairing at the Games, where the skeet mixed team event will make its Olympic debut, Smith told ISSF TV: “We are hoping for gold in Paris too, fingers crossed, although we are happy for medals in any appearances.

“It’s a brand new event for the Olympics and it’s like we feel we are made for this event as the United States men’s and women’s skeet teams are extremely strong. We feel ready to make history!

“We love shooting together and it’s such a pleasure to repeat our World Cup win here last year.”

Al Shamaa told ISSF TV: “I am feeling very happy - this is my first medal in a World Cup.”

Reflecting on the fact that her partner is a three-times world champion and double Olympic medallist, she added: “Every day I learn new things just from watching him. I am very happy I am shooting with this legend.

“We already won silver in the Asian Games and Asian Championships so we are very glad to be winning these kind of medals in these competitions. Hopefully we are going to win a lot more in the future.”

While both Smith and Al Shamaa missed the fourth of their first four efforts, the United States moved into the lead in the next sequence as Alrashidi produced the first of his total of three misses, and thereafter the world champions were never seriously challenged.

Earlier Sweden’s pairing of Marcus Svensson and Victoria Larsson had won their bronze-medal match 45-42 against the second United States pairing of Conner Prince and Dania Vizzi, the respective men’s and women’s individual silver medallists.