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No joy for Malta as Xuereb loses bronze medal match

Below-par Chetcuti lags behind in 28th place

Nathan Lee XuerebNathan Lee Xuereb

Nathan Lee Xuereb had high hopes of winning a medal at the ISSF World Championship junior double trap event after qualifying for the semi-finals in top spot but his optimism turned into disappointment as the young shooter went down to Russia’s Anton Slepushkin in the bronze medal match, yesterday.

Leading the field after hitting 139 points (26, 27, 27, 29, 30) in the initial phase, two more than Ian Rupert, of the United States, Xuereb was one of five shooters to smash 28 clays in the semi-finals.

This led to a shoot-off in which Xuereb just managed to secure a place in the bronze match with eight points, one behind Slepushkin.

Rupert and Italy’s Andrea Vescovi earned the right to contest the gold medal play-off with a maximum 10 points in the shoot-off.

Xuereb was unable to hit top form in the decisive match as he only managed 24 out of 30 points, four fewer than his Russian opponent who claimed the bronze medal.

In a tight finale, Vescovi pipped Rupert to gold, 29-28.

Gianluca Chetcuti, Malta’s other participant in the junior double trap event in Granada, had an encouraging debut as he finished ninth with 130 points.

In the men’s event, William Chetcuti had an off day yesterday as he finished a disappointing 28th.

He was off to a positive start, hitting 28 points in the first round, but a poor 24 in the second scuppered his chances of progressing to the semi-finals.

Chetcuti fared better in the last three qualifying rounds, recording scores of 28, 27 and 27 for a total of 134 out of 150, level with Qatar’s Masoud Al Athba but eight points outside the top-six zone.

US shooter Joshua Richmond won the gold medal after edging out Italy’s Antonino Barilla 30-29 in the decisive match. Britain’s Steven Scott took bronze.

In the trap event, held last week, the four Maltese participants attained an MQS but failed to make it through to the semi-finals.

Brian Galea managed 118 from 125 clays (24, 25, 23, 24, 22), Frans Pace 117 (22, 25, 25, 23, 22) and Jeffrey Pisani 112 (22, 24, 23, 22, 21).

Competing in the junior trap event, James Galea Jr finished with 114 points (22, 25, 24, 21, 22).

Meanwhile, Eleonor Bezzina registered scores of 376-10x in the 10m air pistol event and 558-12x in the 25m.

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