Soldiers Win Shooting Medals at Beijing World Cup
April 16, 2008
BEIJING, China - The U.S. Shooting Team earned two medals April 15 at the "Good Luck Beijing" 2008 International Sport Shooting Federation World Cup, which is the test event for the 2008 Olympic Games.
Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit of Fort Benning, Ga., captured the Silver Medal in Men's Double Trap, while USAMU's Sgt. 1st Class Daryl L. Szarenski claimed the Bronze Medal in the Men's 50-Meter Free Pistol event.
The Men's Double Trap final was conducted under a cascade of catkins, brought by the slight wind blowing on the range, which gave the unusual impression of snow fall. Two-time Olympian and last year's World Cup Final Champion Eller did not seemed phased by the conditions, shooting 48 targets in the final, for a total of 188 targets, earning him the Silver Medal.
Of the conditions on the field, Eller said he felt like he was a lot more worried between rounds about possibly breathing the catkins in, but once he was looking down the barrel of the gun in the final, all he concentrated on was the target.
"This is one of the best ranges I have ever seen. I got second place here and it's great," said Eller. "I have had a lot of practice and I will try my best to get the Gold at the Games."
Eller will represent the U.S. in Men's Double Trap at the Beijing Olympic Games this August, after finishing in first place at the
2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shooting (Shotgun) in March.
Vasily Mosin of Russia won the Gold in the Double Trap competition with total score of 191 targets. The Bronze Medal was earned through a shoot-off between the 2000 Olympic Champion Richards Faulds of Great Britain and Saif Alshamsy of United Arab Emirates after being tied with 185 targets. Faulds, the first to shoot, missed his second target and Alshamsy claimed the Bronze.
Mikhail Leybo of Russia finished in fifth place with 183 targets, while Eller's USAMU teammate Sgt. Joshua M. Richmond took sixth place with a total of 181 targets.
In the Men's 50-Meter Free Pistol event, Szarenski, a two-time Olympian, finished the Qualifying Round in second place with a score of 570, only one point behind the leader Lin Zhongzai of China, who was the 2007 World Cup USA and World Cup Final Champion. Zhongzai went on to win today's Free Pistol event with a final score of 667.2 points (571 + 96.2).
In an intense struggle for the Silver Medal, Szarenski had to battle against Rashid Yunusmetov of Kazakhstan. Szarenski held second place until the last shot, when he scored 8.7 to Yunusmetov's score of 10.2. Yunusmetov earned the Silver Medal with a total score of 666.0
(565 + 101.0) and Szarenski claimed the Bronze Medal with 663.4 points (570 + 93.4).
"I was very happy with my qualifying score of 570 and followed my shot plan throughout the final," said Szarenski. "Only once did I let the crowd reaction cause me to be distracted with a rough shot."
The Good Luck Beijing 2008 ISSF World Cup is being conducted at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall and Beijing Shooting Range Clay-Target Field. Competition continues Wednesday with the Women's 25-Meter Sport Pistol final and the event will conclude April 20.
This event is the only shooting competition where athletes will be able to test their shooting skills at the new Olympic shooting venues prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The Beijing Games will be held Aug. 8 to 24, with the shooting portion of the competition taking place Aug. 9 to 17.
More than 1,200 shooters from 92 countries are competing in the Beijing World Cup, which makes this competition the largest shooting event ever in China. Thirty-five Olympians and Olympic hopefuls from the U.S. are competing in 15 different men's and women's events during this nine-day competition.
Soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit have scored some other major victories recently:
* At the Stars & Bars Long Range Rifle Championships, Fort Benning, Ga., March 29 and 30 - Service rifle shooters Staff Sgt. William Todd Pace, Sgt. Walter E. Craig Jr. and Sgt. 1st Class Kyle A. Ward took first, second and third-place in the 1,000-Yard Service Rifle Competition. Spc. Tyrel L. Cooper finished third overall in the 1,000-Yard Match Rifle Championship.
* At the U.S. National Steel Championships, Anderson, S.C., March 12 to 16 - Action shooter Staff Sgt. Maxient J. "Max" Michel Jr. beat 89 of the country's top action shooters to win the Men's National Championship; Spc. Kamille C. "K.C." Eusebio took third place.
(Mary Beth Vorwerk writes for USA Shooting and has a reciprocal agreement with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Paula Randall, public affairs officer for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, also contributed to this article.)