William Chetcuti won his first ever international medal in the trap competition after taking silver in a tense shoot-off against Cypriot Nikolas Kyriakou at the 2019 GSSE competition in Budva, on Thursday.
It was a brilliant effort from the Manikata-born shooter who has only taken trap shooting 18 months ago after his original discipline, double trap, was scrapped from the Olympic Games.
Buoyed by a strong first-day showing, which saw him finish second only to Montenegro shooter Ivo Stanisic, the Manikata shooter stepped up the gear in the final two rounds to post a straight of 25 and a 23 to finish joint-top with Andreas Makri, of Cyprus.
A shoot-off was needed to determine who would hold the no.1 in the final, that would provide the upperhand on a tied score, and Chetcuti had the better of the Cypriot.
The final turned out to be a nervy affair with all the six shooters showing signs of nervousness Kyriakou with a score of 22, one clear of Chetcuti and Makri.
From then on, the final turned out to be a nervous affair, with Chetcuti showing great composure to sail through to a gold medal shoot-off against Kyriakos as both hit 44 from 50.
Here, it was a psychological battle of the Chetcuti missed his third shot but Kyriakos failed to convert the ‘match point’.
However, when Chetcuti missed again, the Cypriot took full advantage to seal gold ahead of Chetcuti with Makri settling for bronze.
Despite missing out on gold, Chetcuti was still delighted with his performance.
“I may have not won the gold medal but this is still a very special medal for me,” Chetcuti said.
“This is the first time that I won a medal in an international trap competition since I took up the discipline 18 months ago. These may be only the Small Nations Games but the level of competition is very high as I faced shooters like Andreas Makri who has just won a World Cup shoot in South Korea last month.
“No doubt, this result fills me with great confidence for the future and will spur me to continue improve my level.”
Chetcuti will now turn his sight for a second medal today when he lines up for the double trap event alongside Gianluca Chetcuti, the gold medallist in San Marino two years ago.
“Having already a medal in the bag takes off the pressure of my shoulder for tomorrow,” William Chetcuti said.
“I have not trained double trap a lot in the last year or so but I still will be doing all I can to do my best and hopefully I can also be in contention.”
Brian Galea was the other Maltese shooter in competition. The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist produced excellent scores of 24 in the final two rounds of qualification but was not enough for him to make it to the final as he finished just one clay short of sixth-placed Alessandra Perilli.
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