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Final Trap Women

Tokyo 2020 champion Stefecekova rules as Paris 2024 trap women quotas go to France’s Couzy and Dmitriyenko of Kazakhstan in Doha Final Olympic qualifier

ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship · Doha, QAT

 Slovakia’s reigning Olympic trap women champion Zuzana Stefecekova laid down a huge marker for this summer’s Paris 2024 Games as she dominated at the Final Olympic Qualification Championship Shotgun in Doha.

The 40-year-old, who also took Olympic silver at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, won gold in hot and windy conditions at the Lusail Shooting Complex on the edge of the Qatari capital, finishing four hits clear of Australia’s Laetisha Scanlan on 46.

The two Paris quota places on offer in this event went to France’s 34-year-old Melanie Couzy, who finished sixth in the final, and Kazakhstan’s Mariya Dmitriyenko, who took eighth place at the Rio 2016 Games.

Dmitriyenko earned her slot after finishing fourth in a shoot-off involving six athletes who had totalled 118 hits in qualifying, although she missed out on the final by one place.

The top three in the shoot-off were Couzy, Scanlan and Adriana Ruano Oliva of Guatemala -  and the French athlete was the only athlete who made the final who had begun the Championship eligible to win an Olympic quota place.

The Kazakh athlete was under pressure to the end as the woman who finished one place behind her in the shoot-off, Turkey’s Safiye Temizdemir, was also eligible to win a quota place, although the sixth-placed Fatima Galvez of Spain already had a slot won for Paris.

As temperatures rose towards 33C Penny Smith of Australia – who was not eligible to win a quota place here as her compatriots Scanlan and Catherine Skinner, the latter not present in Doha, had already secured one each – took an early lead in an effort to show her credentials to take up one of the places won.

But three misses out of five on her sixth sequence saw her slip to second place as the Tokyo 2020 champion moved past relentlessly.

Meanwhile Scanlan had been moving up, and a perfect sequence of five shots allowed her to move into the reckoning for gold as Smith had to settle for bronze.

Scanlan only missed one of her last five efforts, but Stefecekova produced her third five-out-of-five to win by a margin of 46-42.

Ruano Oliva was fourth, one place ahead of Maria Coelho De Barrios of Portugal.

Scanlan revealed afterwards that the contest had had an added significance in terms of who would take up the two available quota places already won.

“Australia is really lucky, we already have our quotas for women’s trap,” she told ISSF TV. “But obviously we have got to do an internal selection and this event counted so I am really happy with how I performed.

“I think the announcement is the end of June.

“It was quite windy today. It could have been anyone’s, so I was just really happy to get a medal.”

Stefecekova, meanwhile, was buoyed up by her performance in what was her first ISSF event of the year.

“It’s a great feeling because I have been saying with my coach that we are making the plan for the Olympics and we have been working on it so it looks as if it is going well.

“It was a really nice test between the best shooters. I am really happy that I made it to the final, I was feeling well during the competition, and I was working on believing in myself.”

Asked about her thoughts on defending her title in Paris, she added:

“It’s very difficult because I know the people in Slovakia are waiting for at least gold because the last one was gold!

“So it is difficult, but I am doing it because I love it. I do it for myself and I want to be happy after the Olympics.”

 

 

 

 

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