Two of Australia’s most decorated shooters, Michael Diamond and Russell Mark, have lined up for the first World Cup event of the 2013 calendar at Acapulco in Mexico.
Diamond and Mark, who competed at their sixth Olympic Games respectively in London last year, are Australia’s sole entrants for the event and will have the opportunity to test the new ISSF rules in international competition for the first time.
Diamond faces a strong field in the men’s trap, which features London silver medallist and current world number two Massimo Fabbrizi of Italy, as well as Spain’s Jesus Serrano, who finished fifth in the Olympic final last year.
Diamond, who missed out on the bronze medal in a shoot off in London, currently is ranked fifth in the world and has publicly stated his desire to make his seventh Australian Olympic Team in Rio in 2016.
The men’s trap opened yesterday and will continue today. At this stage, nine shooters are ahead of Diamond’s score of 47 after the first two round of qualifying and he will have to perform well in today’s rounds. No one shot two perfect scores of 25 in the early rounds.
Russell Mark will face a wide open field in the men’s double trap that features none of the six Olympic finalists from London.
World number seven Ronjan Sodhi is the highest ranked athlete in the field of 29, while world number 12 Mikail Leybo will also challenge for the medals on Wednesday.
The first gold medal of the 2013 season was won by Russia’s Liudmila Pshenichnikov in women’s trap after the 40-year-old beat last year’s Olympic champion, Jessica Rossi of Italy.
A hundred and sixty-four athletes from 27 nations will contest the seven day event, with competition concluding next Saturday with the final of the men’s skeet.