Australia has rounded off its shooting campaign at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in stunning style with two more gold medals on the closing day of competition. Adam Vella took gold in the men’s Trap, while David Chapman followed suit in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol to complete a highly satisfactory campaign for the Australians at the Carnoustie range.
The twin successes at the Barry Buddon Centre enabled Australia to finish on top of the shooting medals table with six gold and two bronze. They pipped England, who came second with five gold, two silver and eight bronze. Third were India, who collected four gold, nine silver and four bronze. Singapore were fourth, thanks to two gold. And the gold count was completed by Cyprus, who claimed one gold, one silver and a bronze.
It was a sparkling return to prominence for the Australian Shooting Team after the disappointments of the London Olympic Games in 2012 when they took home no medals. And the tally of three gold, two silver and two bronze from the Delhi Commonwealth Games four years ago had been the worst outcome for 32 years.
Adam Vella led the way on day five when he defeated England’s defending champion Aaron Heading 11-9 from 15 shots in the Trap gold medal tussle. The 43-year-old Victorian had previously taken out the Trap pairs in Manchester, Melbourne and Delhi, but this was his first win in the individual discipline after landing bronze at the Athens Olympics in 2004. But there was no happy ending for two-time Olympic champion Michael Diamond, who was squeezed out of the bronze medal position by India’s Manavjit Sandhu. Vella savoured his success, but appreciated the broader picture. “It’s a great achievement for the whole shooting team,” he said.
David Chapman set a finals record in his 25m Rapid Fire Pistol gold decider by hitting 23 of 40 targets to see off India’s Harpreet Singh and England’s Kristian Callaghan in the six-man line-up. His team-mate Bruce Quick came in sixth place. Forty-nine-year-old Clare Valley farmer David Chapman and his daughter Hayley, 22, had already made history at the Games by being the first father-daughter combination to represent Australia in the sport. “It’s been a great family experience, really special,” he said.
Australian pair James Corbett and Geoff Grenfell ended up outside the medals in the Queen’s Prize Individual placings with 11th and 12th placings respectively. The gold medal in that event went to David Luckman of England, silver was taken by Canada’s Jim Paton, with England’s Parag Patel handed bronze.
In the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Position, Dane Sampson managed eighth spot. Countryman Michael Brown bowed out in the qualifiers. The event winner was Daniel Rivers of England, ahead of Indian pair Sanjeev Rajput and Gagan Narang.
Australia’s Alethea Sedgman was seen as a likely contender in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position, but she never made it past the qualifiers. In the finals rankings, her team-mate Robyn Ridley claimed eighth position. The gold medal was carried off by Jasmine Ser of Singapore. Scotland’s Jem McIntosh landed silver and India’s Lajja Gauswami filled the bronze medal berth.
As the events came to a close, a delighted Shooting Australia CEO Damien Marangon was able to reflect on a rewarding overall performance by the 29-strong squad at the Games. The results vindicated a renewed emphasis by the shooting hierarchy on its high-performance training program. And a hunger for prolonged international success for the sport had been firmly set in motion. “We are thrilled with how the athletes have responded, especially under pressure,” said Mr Marangon.