While gold is the color of choice for skeet shooter Vincent Hancock (USAMU/Eatonton, Ga.), he has racked up quite a collection of medals in a different hue after four World Cup Finals and today proved to be no different after earning a silver medal to conclude the World Cup Finals in Maribor, Slovenia.

Team USA’s six competing athletes earned three medals overall and five total top-four finishes securely placing them atop the medal standings of the 2012 ISSF World Cup Final.  In all, Team USA pocketed one gold medal (Josh Richmond/double trap), and two silver medals in skeet with Hancock and Brandy Drozd’s (Bryan, Texas) silver medals.  Four nations (Denmark, Finland, Slovakia and Turkey) tied in second place, with one gold medal each. Other U.S. finalists included Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, La.) and Kayle Browning (Wooster, Ark.), both finishing fourth respectively in skeet and women’s trap.

Hancock ran into hot-shooting Andres Golding of Denmark as the 28-year-old Olympic silver medalist secured the Cup with an overall score of 149 hits out of 150 targets.  Making it into today’s final in the lead, with a two-target head start on his followers, Golding did not leave many chances to his opponents.  Hitting all 25 targets – a perfect match – he climbed upon the highest step of the podium winning his first ISSF World Cup title.

Making it to today’s final match with 122 qualification targets, Hancock hit 24/25 targets in the final, pocketing the silver with an overall score of 146 hits.  Hancock, the two-time Olympic champion, has never won an ISSF World Cup Final, finishing second four times (2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012).

“This was my last international competition as a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit,” Hancock said after the event. “I am leaving the Army in a couple of months. I have been in the Army for more than six years now and it’s time to move on. I am planning to open a Shooting Academy, with my father, in Georgia. I want to dedicate some time to my family now.”

Valery Shomin, the 41-year-old Russian shooter ranked third in the world, finished on the ISSF World Cup podium pocketing a bronze medal.  Shomin had entered the match tied with Hancock after 122 qualification hits, but then missed two clays in the final, sliding back in third with a total score of 145 hits.

Following him, the 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist Anthony Terras of France placed in fourth with 144 (119+25) hits, as well as Cyprus’ Georgios Achilleos, fifth with 144 (121+23) targets. Golding’s teammate Jensen Hansen closed the final match in sixth, with 143 (121+22) hits.

Maribor’s ISSF World Cup Final concluded this year’s international shotgun season.  Over 650 shooters coming from 85 nations participated in this year’s ISSF World Cup Series, which kicked-off last March in Tucson, Ariz., and then proceeded to London and then to Lonato, Italy, in May.

The 2013 ISSF World Cup Series will start next March, in Acapulco, Mexico, after the winter break. Check out the calendar of the next international events, and stay tuned for more news on www.issf-sports.org.

USA Shooting will host a Fall Selection Match in Kerrville, Texas, that will feature some of the top shotgun shooters in the nation as they vie for spots in next year’s World Cup events. Skeet and Double Trap will be contested Oct. 4-7 while Trap will take place Oct. 11-14.

Image courtesy USA Shooting

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