Kim Again at ISSF World Cup India
While you were asleep Wednesday, six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode was shooting her way to yet another career victory during the year’s first World Cup stop in New Delhi, India.
The 37-year-old legend has shown absolutely zero rust after setting an Olympic milestone with a sixth consecutive Olympic medal last summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. All she has done since is win the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final trophy in October and then come out in her first skeet test of 2017 and excel again with the 16th World Cup victory of her illustrious career.
Competing under the new ISSF Finals Rules in the first competition of the season didn’t seem to be a problem for Rhode (El Monte, California). The ISSF changed the previous semifinal-medal match format in the shotgun events to a progressive elimination Final. Shotgun finalists now shoot in qualification rank order, with that ranking deciding any ties for third thru sixth place. The new Skeet Final is now based on 10-target sequences with eliminations or medal decisions occurring after 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 targets. Rhode missed two targets out of her first 16 shots and then didn’t miss again for 33 consecutive targets to easily out-distance all her rivals, missing just four her 60 shots total. She ended up eventually taking the victory by five total targets over Thailand’s Sutiya Jiewchalommit.
She nearly had some team company on the podium as Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, Louisiana) missed a bronze medal by the narrowest of margins. Connor was one target away from earning at least a bronze medal, but a dropped target on her 40th shot dropped her into a tie with Jiewchalommit. A higher qualification score (73 to 72) meant that the Thai shooter would advance and ultimately propel to her silver-medal finish. New Zealand skeet shooter Chloe Tipple would finish in third.
In addition to a historic six medals, Rhode now has earned 25 career World Cup medals and another five World Cup Finals medals, including 19 total in Women’s Skeet.
“I think there’s not really any secret,” Rhode in speaking about her continued success. “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 showcase our talent, and it allowed me and Sutiya to battle all through the match for the gold medal. I think it’s great, and I think it will showcase a lot more of our abilities.”
The first 75 targets in Men’s Skeet were also thrown Wednesday with U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Sgt. Hayden Stewart (Columbia, Tennessee) leading the way for Team USA in 13th place after posting a score of 72. Zach McBee (College Station, Texas) is ranked 35th after a 68. Kyle Johnson (Phoenix, Arizona) is 43rd with a 65. ISSF World Cup India concludes Thursday with 50 more qualifying targets plus a final.
Thanks to the ISSF for their editorial assistance and photo.
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