Shooting World Cup: Alessia Iezzi overcomes pain for a joyous gold

In a thriller of a final in which she was tied on 41 out of 50 with the former World Champion Fatima, Alessia clinched the shoot-off 2-1.

Alessia Iezzi of Italy is ecstatic after winning the women's trap gold in the Shooting World Cup Final in Delhi on Saturday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

At times, it is the pain that helps the champions break the barriers and reach new highs. It proved so for the 21-year-old Alessia Iezzi of Italy who beat a classy field despite a cut on her triggering index finger, and clinched the women’s trap gold after a shoot-off against Fatima Galvez of Spain in the World Cup Final at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

In a thriller of a final in which she was tied on 41 out of 50 with the former World Champion Fatima, Alessia clinched the shoot-off 2-1.

It took a fraction of a second for the Italian to realise that she had won the title, with her back to the rival, when the ‘beep’ was sounded to signal that the Spaniard had missed her second bird.

Alessia jumped for joy and went into the open arms of her coach for a spontaneous celebration, even as all the finalists congregated to congratulate her on the maiden triumph.

The Italian had cut her index finger during the qualification, when she scored 72 out of 75, but bravely kept wiping the blood with a towel to continue her march to the gold.

“It took me time to figure out that I had won. It was the best feeling’’, said Alessia who had won the junior World Championship gold two years ago, back home in Lonato. “I was in pain, but decided to forget about it’’, she said.

It was a gutsy fare from Fatima, who had missed four of the first seven birds, but kept getting better through the 50-shot final, to eventually take the silver.

The reigning Olympic champion Catherine Skinner of Australia finished sixth, after having topped qualification with 73. Two-time Olympic silver medallist and former World Champion, Zuzana Stefecekova of Slovakia, finished fifth behind another Aussie, Penny Smith, who had won the World Cup gold at the same venue in February.

Italy’s Jessica Rossi, the London Olympics gold medallist and four-time World Champion, had a bad third round and missed the qualification for the final by three points, with a total of 66. In fact, there was a four-way shoot-off for the last two berths in the final, and Fatima Galvez had pulled through behind Zuzana.

In the more rigorous women’s rifle 3-position event, Jolyn Beer of Germany beat Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia by 2.4 points with a 10.8 last shot. The two had topped qualification with 589, and endured a 45-shot final for a fitting climax. The duo pushed the much accomplished Chinese Zhang Yiwen, Shi Mengyao and Zhang Binbin to the third, fourth and fifth spots.

The results:

Women:

Trap: 1. Alessia Iezzi (Ita) 41(2) 72; 2. Fatima Galvez (Esp) 41(1) 69(4); 3. Ray Bassil (Lbn) 32 (70)1.

50m rifle 3-position: 1. Jolyn Beer (Ger) 459.9 (589); 2. Snjezana Pejcic (Cro) 457.5 (589); 3. Zhang Yiwen (Chn) 448.2 (581).