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Italy completes Rabat Shotgun World Cup clean sweep as Scocchetti and Cassandro win skeet titles

Italy today completed a clean sweep of individual titles at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Rabat as Simona Scocchetti won the women’s skeet and then her compatriot Tammaro Cassandro took gold in the men’s skeet after missing just one target in the final.

These triumphs came four days after London 2012 champion Jessica Rossi and 43-year-old Mauro De Filippis had earned respective victories in the women’s and men’s trap.

It was a huge statement of intent from the Italian shotgun squad in the year of the Paris Olympics, with Martina Maruzzo taking a second consecutive World Cup silver behind Scocchetti and Rio 2016 champion Gabriele Rossetti just missing bronze – amid some controversy.

The performance of a windy day at the Club Les Chênes de Tir et de Loisirs, located 18.5km from Rabat, came from Rossetti’s 30-year-old compatriot Cassandro.

The 30-year-old 2019 world silver medallist won his second World Cup gold with a massively consistent performance that saw him finish just one shot short of the world record in the previous day's qualifying – where he scored 124 from 125 - and the final, where he totalled 59 out of 60.

His effort was all the more worthy given the difficult conditions, with the sun disappearing halfway through the final on a day of fitful winds, and the background noise as the round which saw Rossetti move from second place to a final position of fourth ended with several coaches, including his own, talking urgently with event officials.

The discussion appeared to centre on the yellow card that had been shown to the eventual bronze medallist, 24-year-old Daniel Korcak of the Czech Republic, for a timing fault after he had hit his first two low shots to bring his total to 35.

Rossetti’s earlier miss had seen him total 36 out of 40, meaning Korcak had to regain his composure and score his next two reverse shots to secure a medal – which he did.

It appeared as if there was questioning of whether those two latter shots should have been allowed – but the Czech 2019 world junior champion was able to claim his first World Cup medal.

Cassandro, who had paced meditatively back and forth during the background talking, remained firmly in the zone when he resumed, not adding a single miss to the only one he had registered on shot 14.

But while Korcak’s form fell away, a shooter who is already a legend in the sport having won three Olympic titles, Vincent Hancock of the United States, was moving ever upwards.

Hancock, by his own admission, had struggled in a talent-stacked qualification involving 77 shooters who had faced the challenge of earlier winds, eventually securing the sixth and final slot in the final through a shoot-off after scoring 121.

Having missed three out of his opening 26 shots – “I felt good but I suddenly started jerking the gun all over the place, and I was like ‘Come on body! Why are you not co-operating right now?’” – the 34-year-old four-times world champion brought all  his formidable experience to bear, seeing out the rest of the competition without fault.

He eventually finished just two shots away from the man of the moment with a score of 57.

Fifth place went Denmark’s Emil Petersen, who won the World Cup Final in Doha last November through a 26-25 shoot-off, with Germany’s 23-year-old Christopher Honkomp, who had finished second behind Cassandro in qualifying, taking sixth place.

Scocchetti, a 38-year-old mother-of-three, was briefly in tears after securing her first individual World Cup title.

The 2013 world silver medallist from Tarquinia had previously won two individual World Cup silvers – the most recent in Cairo last year – and two World Cup bronzes – and she completed her set in the event with a composed performance in tricky conditions.

Scocchetti hit 19 of her final 20 targets to finish with a score of 54, two clear of her 30-year-old compatriot.

Maruzzo, who had topped qualifying with 119 shots, added a second consecutive World Cup silver after last month’s success in Cairo, keeping the pressure on her friend and rival to the end as she hit her six final efforts.

That meant Scocchetti, who had qualified third, needed at least three of her four final shots. She got all four.

Bronze went to France’s Lucie Anastassiou, who had dropped to fourth in Cairo after looking like getting a medal.

Greece’s 22-year-old Emmanouela Katzouraki, the youngest shooter in the final, had been second behind Anastassiou after both had scored 17 of their opening 20 shots, but dropped down to her eventual position of fourth after 40 shots.

Fifth place went to Sweden’s 28-year-old Victoria Larsson, with 33-year-old Caitlin Connor, the 2018 world champion, finishing sixth.

“I am very happy,” Scocchetti told ISSF TV.

Anastassiou, speaking of the challenge of wind that was gusting at 13 metres per second, added: “I think it’s good to have this kind of competition, as it takes you out of the comfort zone. I’m really happy that I was able to fight and fight to get a medal.”

Looking ahead to the Olympics in her home country, she added: “I am very excited about the Games – I think all the shooters are. I will be moving towards it step by step…”

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