Shotgun Spotlight on Youth: round-up before Lima (Skeet)
Best young shotgun athletes so far this year, before Lima: second part of the recap. Skeet: Amber Hill and Tom Jensen.
Here's the second and last segment of the round-up before Lima, a summary of the best results among the youngest shotgun shooters in 2013 - right ahead of the World Championship (starting on September 14 in Peru). In the first part of the recap, we covered Trap (Ashley Carroll, Laetisha Scanlan, Silvana Stanco) and Double Trap (Ian Rupert).
Now, let's move to Skeet:
Tom Jensen - You can win the qualifications - setting an Equalled World Record (EWR, 124 hits) -, triumph in the semifinal (15/16) and lead the gold medal match (14/5). But that doesn't necessarily mean you win gold, because just one mistake can ruin it all.
Tom Beier Jensen of Norway, 23, knows something about that: in Granada, he didn't make it to the highest step of the podium - nonetheless his amazing performance, as you can see from the ciphers mentioned earlier.
What came between Tom Jensen and his first ever World Cup gold was a fatal miss (at just 3-shot away from the win), which gave the other competitor - Jan Sychra of Czech Republic - the chance to turn the tide of the match in the following competition rounds and the final shoot-foff.
Anyway, the 23-year-old Tom can still smile and doesn't pick on the new rules, which didn't help him: "I'm happy," he said. "Starting from zero in the final is strange, but I still think that the best will win." A good attitude, gained after some good work: "In 2013 I've changed my attitude," said the Norwegian athlete. "I'm more focused, and don't get nervous all the time." And this brought Jensen his first two World Cup medals of his career (othern than Granada, Al Ain).
Finally, Jensen - still thinking of the missed 1st place - unveiled his dream: to come away with the gold from the European Championship (to be contested a few weeks later), and get even with the Granada frustration. And guess what?
He did it: in Suhl, Germany, Tom took first place in the qualification round (124 hits, another EWR) and then pulled it off successfully throughout the semifinal (15 hits, 1st in a tie with Luigi Lodde of Italy) and the final, where he defeated the Italian athlete by 15-12 (see the details on the Results Book of the competition).
Tom learned his lesson. Now, he can enjoy his first gold ever.
Amber Hill - Hardly a 15-year-old girl has gone so far as Amber Hill did. She started (at the age of 10) from Binfield, a small english village in Berkshire - when she'd chosen her granfather's shooting over her brother's rugby. That was 2007, but she had already won several national titles by the next four years (2011), and the final destination has already a where, when and what: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 5-21 August, 2016; Olympic Games, Skeet Women.
About three years before the world's biggest sporting bash, Amber Hill has already proved she's ready for that event. Acapulco, Mexico; 22 March 2013; ISSF World Cup, Skeet Women: Amber passes through the qualification round with a new Junior World Record (68 hits); then, in the semi-finals, she gets atop of the standings (15 hits out of 16 targets) - in spite of having to deal with such a world-class opponent as Italy's Chiara Cainero (2008 Olympic Champion), who came 3rd.
Once in the gold medal match, the young Amber wins the duel (15-11) against Diana Bacosi of Italy (28, a World Cup multi-medallist) and finally comes to the coveted gold medal.
You may think, a not-even-16-year-old girl who just won a gold medal might be done. But Amber his not, since she's growing an ambitious Olympic dream - her very big aim, as she then admits: "I'm aiming for Rio 2016, so, hopefully...”
Her sentence doesn't end. Exactly as her journey: Amber Hill is on her way, straight to Rio 2016. At that time, she will not even be 20 years old. Will she make it? “Hopefully...”