SHOOTING: Aaron earns gold for Great Britain
Long Sutton's Aaron Heading won gold for Great Britain at the World Cup for Trap Shooting.
The 31-year-old, who runs the Priory Clay Target Centre at Sutton Bridge with his wife Natasha, ruled a troubled trap men's final in Malta that started with a 90-minute delay because of the strong wind that conditioned many qualification rounds.
This is the second World Cup gold of his career for Heading who climbed on the podium alongside silver medal winner Du Yu of the People’s Republic of China and bronze medal winner Marian Kovacocy of Slovakia.
Heading won the final at the Malta National Shooting Ranges in the fifth stage of the 2018 ISSF World Cup Series.
Heading, who previously won one World Cup gold in Al Ain (UAE) in 2013, and first-time finalist Du had already distanced all of their rivals with 20 clays left to shoot.
They entered the final 10 targets with the same score of 34 hits.
Du missed three of his first five clays, allowing Heading to take the lead and claim the gold medal with 42 targets hits out of 50.
“I feel amazing!” said Heading. “But firstly I want to say thank you to the Maltese Federation for building a great facility, they’ve done an amazing work and everybody here has been fantastic.
“Obviously the wind was a big issue but I kept it together and didn’t give up.
"I just kept going and going, I could hear my opponent missing a couple of targets, but I kept my focus on mine and look what happened!”
The gold won by Heading is the second in the competition for Great Britain, as it adds up to the one collected by Amber Hill in the women’s skeet event.
The podium was completed by Slovakia’s Marian Kovacocy. The 33-year-old shooter, who won the ISSF World Championship back in 2009, collected the first World Cup medal of his career, signing off with eight consecutive hits and closing with the score of 30 out of 40 targets.
Just outside of the medal positions, Cyprus’ 26-year-old Andreas Makri — ranked 96th in the world before this match — placed fourth in his first final appearance, hitting 24 of his 35 targets and barely missing the podium.
Another first-time final participant - Lebanon’s 34-year-old Alain Moussa - concluded with 20 crushed clays out of 30, missing his last three targets and sliding down in 5th place at the time of the elimination.
David Kostelecky of Czech Republic was the first shooter eliminated from the contest - the eight-time World Cup medalist missed five of his first 10 targets, compromising his match and closing in eighth place with 17 hits out of 25.