The Bidnija ranges were again buzzing with excitement yesterday as the Malta Shooting Sport Federation fraternity convened to mark the excellent results obtained by Double Trap ace William Chetcuti and young prodigy Nathan Lee Xuereb in a World Cup shoot last week and to launch the International Grand Prix.
In Tucson, Arizona, Chetcuti again underlined his undoubted talent when hitting a 194 on his way to winning a silver medal.
Xuereb, 15, came agonisingly close to join his training partner on the podium after becoming the youngest shooter to qualify for a World Cup final barrage before placing fourth with 191.
Saviour Portelli, the MSSF president, is brimming with confi-dence and said the results in the US were the fruit of sheer hard work put in by the federation over the past few years.
“We are really proud of the results achieved by William and Nathan in the US,” he told a news conference.
“More than a decade ago we felt that at Bidnija we had enough potential to strike success away from our shores so we embarked on an ambitious project and started to bring over foreign coaches to raise the level of our sport.
“We cannot complain really as our shooters won medals at GSSE, Mediterranean Games, Commonwealth Games and European and World Champ-ionships.
“But, we think there is more to come and we can’t stop here.”
Chetcuti and Xuereb will have the chance to display their talent to the local sporting public on April 29 when the MSSF hosts its third International Double Trap Grand Prix.
“This year’s Grand Prix is set to feature some of the world’s best talent including Italy trio Francesco D’Aniello, Daniele Di Spigno and Marco Innocenti and Sweden’s Hakan Dahlby,” he said.
“William won the 2011 com-petition but the foreigners will be after his title this year and so does Nathan. These are really good times for us so we hope to share more exciting moments with Maltese shooting enthusiasts at Bidnija later on this month.”
The Grand Prix will feature 24 shooters in all. The competition is being sponsored for a third successive year by Bank of Valletta and MSV Life Insurance.
Prior to the Grand Prix, Chetcuti and Xuereb will travel to London for a pre-Olympic shoot. The MSSF will also be represented in the Trap event by James Galea, Stephen Vella and Frank Skorfna.
MOC president Lino Farrugia Sacco and Bernard Vassallo, chairman of the Kunsill Malti għall-iSport, were present at the Bidnija ranges yesterday. Both were among the first to congratulate the MSSF for their latest exploits.
“William and Nathan deserve great praise and so does the federation,” Mr Justice Farrugia Sacco said.
“However, special mention should also go to coach Jimmy Bugeja who has been so patient and dedicated throughout these years to nurture these two fine shooters.”
Vassallo revealed that in the coming weeks, the KMS will unveil plans to launch a shooting academy that will be based at St Benedict College, Kirkop.
“We already have a simulator installed at St Benedict which will be used for a shooting academy to be inaugurated in the coming weeks,” he said.
“This sport has great following on our islands so we don’t want to waste precious talent without giving those interested a chance to try. This initiative will help us attract more newcomers to the sport.”
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