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Filippelli wins skeet gold

From Pragya Tiwari, New Delhi, March 3, 2017, DHNS 0:07 IST

Shooting World Cup: Indian hope Sheeraz impresses with top-6

All Smiles: Italy's Riccardo Filippelli celebrates after clinching gold in the skeet final on Thursday.
Sheeraz Sheikh raised the Indian hopes by entering his maiden men’s skeet final in the World Cup, but could only finish sixth at Dr Karni Singh Range on Thursday.

Italy’s Riccardo Filippelli clinched the gold medal with 57 hits out of the 60 targets to pip compatriot and reigning Olympic champion Gabriele Rossetti who settled for silver with 53 hits. Australia’s Paul Adams (45), who shot fluently in the qualification round to become the joint leader with Rossetti, floundered at the start before recovering to take home the bronze medal.

Sheeraz shot a total of 121 in the qualifying round to be tied with Finland’s Timo Laitinen and former World Champion Jesper Hansen of Denmark. In the shootout for the fifth and sixth places in the final, the 28-year-old Indian and Laitinen shot both their birds while Hesper missed one to bow out.

It, however, was a nervy start for Sheeraz, who had replaced Amrinder Cheema in the team on suggestion of coach Ennio Falco. He missed the birds early to score 16 hits and became the first to be eliminated.

“There has been a lot of improvement in last one year. I believe by the time we have World Cup later in the year, we should be able to perform at higher level,” said Falco.

Sheeraz, who had begun as a cricketer, representing Uttar Pradesh at age group level, before being hooked by shooting at age 18, was glad to have made the final. “I was confident coming into the final, but it didn’t go my way. I will be going to Italy to train with Falco now,” he said.

Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan had begun on a bright note but couldn’t sustain the form to end up on 13th place (119) in the qualification round with Angad Vir Singh Bajwa scoring 116 for his 32nd place.

Regardless, it was an impressive performance from India who finished with five medals comprising a gold, two silver and two bronze medals. China topped the medals tally with six gold and six silver medals, followed by Italy who clinched two gold and three silver. Australia with two gold and a bronze and Japan with two gold and a bronze finished on third and fourth places.

The tournament will conclude with mixed skeet event on Friday.

Results: Men: Skeet: Riccardo Filippelli (Ita, 57), 1; Gabriele Rossetti (Ita, 53), 2; Paul Adams (Aus, 45), 3.

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