Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1316, (20 - 26 October 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Mehelba’s aim is back

Egypt’s Azmi Mehelba, a big disappointment in Rio, triumphed at the men’s skeet World Cup at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup final in Rome, reports Inas Mazhar

Mehelba
Mehelba
Al-Ahram Weekly

Two months after the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Azmi Mehelba won the bronze medal at the men’s skeet shotgun World Cup in Rome, some compensation following his dreadful last day collapse. Before the Olympics, Mehelba was one of Egypt’s and the ISSF’s favourites to win an Olympic medal at the Games. But he failed to reach the podium, finishing 11th.

But the 25-year-old managed to come from behind at the World Cup. The Egyptian met India’s Mairaj Ahmad Khan in the bronze medal match. Both scored 15+11 hits. Both missed a clay on the first station, but then Mehelba zeroed in, hitting all clays right to the end to win the bronze with 15 hits, while the 40-year-old Khan missed again on the last station, placing fourth with 14 clays.

“It’s really great to be on the podium today. It has been a long season. I prepared my best for the Games, but I did not achieve what I wanted there,” Mehelba said after the victory ceremony.

“But to win here it’s really important. All the best skeet shooters of the world take part in the World Cup final, and to finish in the top three is not easy,” he continued.

“After Rio de Janeiro, I immediately started thinking about Tokyo 2020. This World Cup final is the end of the 2016 season, but it’s also the starting point of the road to Tokyo. I am looking forward to it,” Mehelba said.

President of the Egyptian Shooting Federation Hazem Hosni was thrilled with the achievement. “Mehelba did a great job in the World Cup and actually, to be fair, at the Olympic Games as well. He was just unlucky in the last round to miss four targets after he was leading since the beginning,” he said.

“We are thrilled with our recent achievements in world shooting especially after our big success when organising and winning the World Helice Championship in Cairo two weeks ago,” Hosni added.

The winner of this year’s World Cup stage in Baku was Nikolay Teplyy of the Russian Federation. The 29-year-old Teplyy proved true a rule of shooting sport: if you don’t miss, you can’t be beaten. Indeed, he scored all targets in the gold medal match, beating Ukraine’s 2000 Olympic champion Mikola Milchev (48) by 16 to 13 hits.

The Russian shooter had completed the semi-final with 15 hits out of 16 targets, making his way to the gold medal match through a four-way shoot-off with +12 hits.

Rio 2016 Olympic champion and local hero Gabriele Rossetti of Italy finished sixth with 12 hits in the semi-final, behind the 2008 and 2012 Olympic winner Vincent Hancock of the US, fifth with 14 hits.

“This has been a difficult competition,” said Teplyy, holding the ISSF Globe, his first ISSF trophy.

“When I arrived here, I was not really self-confident, as it’s the end of the season, I am a bit tired. So I am extremely happy that I am eventually walking home with the gold medal,” he added.

The US finished atop of the medal standings with one gold, one silver and one bronze.

Altogether 55 athletes from 25 countries competed in the final of the 2016 ISSF shotgun World Cup final in Rome. The best shotgun shooters of the world – selected throughout this year’s ISSF World Cup stages in Nicosia, Rio de Janeiro, San Marino and Baku – met the Rio 2016 Olympic medalists and the title defenders.

“We have been extremely happy and proud to host this ISSF World Cup final and to invite here in Italy the best shotgun shooters of the world,” the ISSF Vice-President and President of the Italian Shotgun Shooting Federation FITAV Luciano Rossi said at the closing ceremony.

“I would like to thank the organising committee for their excellent work, and the volunteers who helped us make this possible. And we should not forget to thank our sponsors, Beretta and Perazzi, who have been supporting us in the organisation of this event,” continued Rossi, also thanking the ISSF Vice Presidents Gary Anderson and Vladimir Lisin.

“Here in Rome we have enjoyed an outstanding competition, a wonderful organisation, and an excellent performance of the athletes,” said Anderson, speaking on behalf of the ISSF President Olegario Vazquez Raña and ISSF Secretary-General Franz Schreiber.

“In recognition of this fine competition organised by the Italian shotgun shooting federation FITAV, the ISSF would like to present a trophy of recognition to the president of FITAV Luciano Rossi,” Anderson added, as she awarded Rossi.

The ISSF technical delegate for this competition, Bhattakarka Bunnag, officially closed the competition. “We have come to the end of a very successful ISSF World Cup final. This is the best organised final I have ever seen. Athletes love to compete here, at the highest standards, and I wish we will be back soon. Arrivederci Roma!”

The 2017 ISSF shotgun World Cup Series will kick-off in New Delhi where the first World Cup stage of the year will be held from 22 February to 4 March.

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