It was the 2008 Olympic Champion Satu Makela-Nummela of Finland who secured the first gold medal of the stage, beating Lebanon’s Ray Bassil in the Gold medal match.
Makela-Nummela, 45, had won her last world cup gold in 2015. The same year, she had placed in fifth at the European Games, held on the very same range here in Baku.
Today, the Finnish shooter qualified for the match with 70+4 hits, after passing through a four-way shoot-off at the end of the qualifications. In the semi-final, she shuttered 14 clays, finishing atop of the table together with Bassil, advancing to the Gold medal match.
Bassil secured silver, her third medal this season following the gold won in Nicosia and the silver collected in Rio de Janeiro. The 27-year old shooter climbed the world ranking up right to the first place, becoming one of the favorites in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. Indeed, even if her country did not secure a quota place for the women’s trap event during the qualification period, Bassil has just received a Tripartite Commission Invitation place that allows her to be on the start-line in Rio.
Today’s Bronze medal went to an up-and-coming Italian shooter, 19-year old Alessia Iezzi, who beat Australia’s 26-year old Laetisha Scanland by 14 clays to 13, after making it into the match with a qualification score of 72 targets and passing through the semi-final with 13 hits.
Iezzi, a 2015 Junior World Champion, was not even listed in the world ranking until today, having a limited experience in senior events.
The medals contenders were followed by France’s Melanie Couzy – fifth with 11 hits in the semi-final – and by Kirsty Barr of Great Britain – sixth with 10 hits.
640 athletes coming from 80 nations arrived here in Baku to compete in the sixth and last world cup stage of the season, which is held at the 2015 European Games shooting venue from the 20th through the 29th of June. This is the last chance for the best shooters of the world to test their skills on a world-scale event, on their road to Rio 2016. With 44 days to go to the Games, the ISSF World Cup in Baku is indeed the largest international shooting competition ahead of the Olympics, and represents a great occasion to prepare for the most important event of the year.
The World Cup Stage will continue tomorrow, with three medal events. The women’s 10m Air Pistol final will take place at 11.00 AM (GMT+4), and will be followed by the men’s 10m Air Rifle final at 1.00 PM. The men’s Trap semi-final and medal matches will close day-2 at 3.00 PM.