It was another medal-winning day for the USA Shooting Team at the 2011 International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Clay Target Championship in Belgrade, Serbia. Leading the charge was 2008 Men’s Double Trap Olympic gold medalist Sergeant Glenn Eller (Katy, Texas). Eller (right, photo ISSF) had a rough start to the 2011 season-beginning with a missing gun from the first ISSF World Cup in Chile and then having to adjust to a new shotgun. It appears as though he’s worked out any kinks of his new gun as he nailed 145 out of 150 match targets. It wasn’t that figure, however, that astounded the crowd. In a four person shoot-off for only one spot, Mashfi Alumatiari of Kuwait was the first athlete to fall with three targets. Next was Hakan Dahbly of Sweden with 11 targets. With just two shooters remaining-Eller and Ahmed Almaktoum of the United Arab Emirates-the tension grew by the minute. The duo continued for 20 targets, 30 targets and finally Almaktoum dropped his thirty-sixth target and Eller advanced to the final.
In the final, Eller maintained pace with 45 out of 50 targets to score 193 total targets. Deciding to do things the hard way, Eller once again found himself in a shoot-off. This time, his opponent was Russia’s Vitaly Fokeev and the winner would earn the World Championship bronze medal. Keeping it short and sweet, Eller topped Forkeev after four targets and happily claimed the bronze medal. “It feels really great to be back in the podium again after three years,” said Eller. National Shotgun Coach Bret Erickson echoed Eller’s sentiments as he said, “It’s nice to see the old Glenn back on the podium.” The gold medalist of the event was China’s Jun Li with 194 match targets and four shoot-off targets to beat Germany’s Andreas Loew, who finished with the silver medal (194+3). Eller’s teammates Staff Sergeant Josh Richmond (Hillsgrove, Pa.) finished in nineteenth place with 143 targets and Sergeant Jeffrey Holguin (Yorba Linda, Calif.) shot 139 targets.
The excitement continued in Junior Men’s Double Trap. Billy Crawford (Johnstown, Ohio) stunned his competition with 147 out of 150 targets for the gold medal. Not only was his outstanding performance a new personal best, but Crawford (left, photo ISSF) set a new junior world record and finished three targets ahead of the silver medalist. Teammates Private First Class Derek Haldeman (Sunbury, Ohio) finished in fifth place with 141 targets and Ian Rupert (Muncy, Pa.) shot 140 targets for seventh place. With all three Americans in the top seven positions, the juniors demolished the previous junior team record to win the team gold medal. With a combined score of 428 targets, the previous record of 415 targets (that has remained untouched since 1998) was left in the dust. Erickson said, “I continue to be impressed by our junior talent. The performance of the junior Men’s Double Trap trio affirms that we will be successful in years to come.” For complete results, please visit the ISSF website or the ISSF YouTube Channel for finals footage.