Barrage eludes Chetcuti, Xuereb in pre-Olympic London shoot
Double trap shooters William Chetcuti and Nathan Lee Xuereb failed to repeat their fine showings in the United States last month after missing out on a place in the final barrage at an ISSF World Cup shoot in London yesterday.
Chetcuti and Xuereb joined all the leading double trap shooters on the ISSF list for yesterday’s top-class competition, held at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolston, the venue of the 2012 London Olympics shooting competitions.
With all the shooters reportedly struggling to cope with the unfavourable weather conditions, Chetcuti, 27, failed to recover from a somewhat sluggish start as he hit scores of 44, 46 and 46 in the qualifying to finish 15th on 136 points.
Xuereb had looked well on course to claim a place in the top-six barrage final after scores of 46 and 47 in the opening two 50-point rounds. But the promising youngster’s performance dipped in the third round as he managed only 43 hits to finish level with Chetcuti on 136 points.
However, Xuereb ranked 16th in the overall classification, one place behind his team-mate, due to an inferior score in the final round.
Russian shooter Mikhail Leybo and Italy’s Francesco D’Aniello topped the charts at the end of the first three rounds with a score of 142. Sweden’s Hakan Dahlby took the sixth and final spot in the barrage when the totalled 139, three more than the Maltese duo.
The final barrage turned out to be a thrilling affair as both Leybo and D’Aniello hit 46 clays from 50 to finish tied on 188 and set up a shoot-off. Leybo held his nerve to edge his Italian rival and take gold.
Another shoot-off was required to determine the bronze medal winner after US shooter Walton Eller and Daniele Di Spigno, of Italy, finished level on 184 points. Di Spigno prevailed to place third overall.
Last month, Chetcuti, Malta’s best hope for a first Olympic medal, recorded his highest score – 194 – in an overseas competition to win the silver medal at a World Cup shoot in Tucson. Xuereb also shone in the US event when he became the youngest shooter to qualify for a final barrage, finishing fourth overall.
Chetcuti and Xuereb now head back to Malta ahead of their participation in the International Double Trap Grand Prix, being hosted by the Malta Shooting Sport Federation at its Bidnija ranges.
Shooters from Italy, Sweden, Finland and Wales are expected to provide stiff competition for Xuereb and Chetcuti.
The opening ceremony of the International Double Trap Grand Prix will be held at the InterContinental Hotel on Friday evening. The competition takes place on Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.