The Californian shooter prevailed over Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit of Thailand, who claimed the Silver medal, while first-time final participant Chloe Tipple of New Zealand secured the Bronze. The ISSF World Cup Stage 1 in will close tomorrow with the Skeet Men final.
Last year’s ISSF Season closed with United States’ Kimberly Rhode atop the Skeet Women podium in Rome (ITA), with the ISSF World Cup Final trophy in her hands and the Gold medal around her neck.
A few month later, miles away from the Italian capital, she’s still there, on the first step of the podium at the ISSF World Cup Stage 1 in New Delhi (IND). And the medal that lays on her is still the brightest one.
Competing under the new ISSF Rules in the first competition of the season didn’t seem to be a problem for the 37-year-old American, who distanced all of her rival thanks to an impressive series of 33 consecutive targets that she crushed midway through the final, while other athletes were busy trying to avoid elimination.
After that performance, Rhode found herself sitting on a comfortable 3-hits lead over Thailand’s Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit, and in the following last round of 10 targets, she managed that gap without any further problem, keeping the 30-year-old Thai shooter at a safe distance and concluding with 56 total hits against Jiewchaloemmit 51.
The 37-year-old, who now counts twenty-five total medals in the ISSF World Cup, 16 in the women’s Skeet event, said: “I think there’s not really any secret. It’s just a lot of hard work and a lot of practice. I owe a lot to my family and to my training. I’m just never giving up!”
“I like the new format of the finals,” she continued. “It allows us to case our talent, and it allowed me and Sutiya to battle all along the match for the Gold medal. I think it’s great, and I think it will showcase a lot more of our abilities.”
“This is my first time in India, I loved it and I will definitely come back!” Concluded Rhode.
Alongside Rhode and Jiewchaloemmit, the podium was completed by Chloe Tipple of New Zealand, who pocketed the Bronze medal with 42 target hits.
The 25-year-old, whose previous best result in a World Cup was a 25th place in Baku (AZE) last year, missed four of her last ten targets, sliding in 3rd place and leaving her Jiewchaloemmit to shoot the final round of targets against Rhode.
The second United States’ final participant, 26-year-old Caitlin Connor, barely miss the podium and concluded 4th with 35 hits. According to the new ISSF Rules, indeed, ties in the finals are meant to be broken by the qualification ranking, and since Connor qualified for the match with 72 hits against Jiewchaloemmit’s 73, the American had to be eliminated.
In spite of crushing all of her last 13 targets, Cyprus’ Andri Eleftheriou (32) couldn’t avoid elimination, and finished in 5th place with 25 target hits.
The 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Diana Bacosi of Italy was the first athlete to leave the match after 20 targets: the 33-year-old missed three of her last six targets, sliding down the standings and leaving the match in 6th place with 14 hits.
The ISSF World Cup Stage 1 in New Delhi will conclude tomorrow with the last final, the Skeet Men scheduled at 2:30 pm (UTC+5:30). The match will be streamed live on www.issf-sports.org and on the ISSF official Facebook page.
News and updates about the competition are available on the ISSF website and on its social media profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Weibo and Youku.
VIDEO - Final Skeet Women