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ISSF World Cup kicks off in Gabala

10 August 2015 12:24 (UTC+04:00)
ISSF World Cup kicks off in Gabala

By Amina Nazarli

Azerbaijan’s northern region of Gabala saw the opening ceremony of International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final on August 7.

The event was attended by Gabala Sport Club President Tale Heydarov, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports Ismayil Ismayilov, Head of the Gabala District Executive Power Sabuhi Abdullayev, Vice President of Azerbaijan Shooting Federation Hafiz Jafarov, President of the International Sport Shooting Federation Olegario Vazquez Rana, and Secretary General Franz Schreiber.

Heydarov addressed the event praising Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's support for the development of sports in the country by stating, “thanks to this support, Baku successfully hosted the first-ever European Games” held in the country on July 12-28.

“Hosting ISSF World Cup in Gabala which is the largest sport event after the European Games, also was possible thanks to successful sports policy of the country. I believe that this world cup will contribute to promoting Gabala in the world,” he added.

Vazquez Rana, for his part, praised the excellent organization of the competitions held in the country, including the current and previous ISSF World Cups held in Gabala, the World and European Championships in various sports, and the first European Games.

"We are closely following these prestigious events and I can say that Azerbaijan has already gained enormous experience in organizing world-class sporting events. I love Azerbaijani people very much and I know this country attaches great importance to sports. Our federation will back Azerbaijan`s Olympic Games bid in the future.”

Jointly organized by the National Olympic Committee, Youth and Sports Ministry, Gabala Shooting Club, and the Azerbaijani Shooting Federation, the competition brings together nearly 2,000 athletes from 100 countries to compete in the rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooting disciplines.

The hallmark of the event is that 34 of the winning athletes will qualify to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

This is the sixth stage of the competition. The previous five qualifying stages of the World Cup were held in the USA, Germany, UAE, Cyprus, and Mexico throughout the year.

The competition, which includes 17 types of shooting sports will last until August 16.

Azerbaijan is being represented by 27 athletes at the event, including Emil Jafarov, Nurlana Jafarova, Pasha Ahadpur, Niyaz Agazade, and others.

First results announced

Meanwhile, initial results from the competition have been announced.

In women’s skeet competition, which was held on August 8, Italian Spada Katiuscia (33) won first place. The Italian shooter attributed her victory to a long period preparation and of an intense season. “Ever since I came here in Gabala I had good feelings. The infrastructure is great, the targets are perfect, the event is well-organized. And eventually these good feelings lifted me atop of the podium,” she confirmed.

Craft Morgan from the USA came in second, while Hill Amber of Great Britain placed third.

In the men’s skeet finals held on August 9, Vincent Hancock (26) of the U.S. took first place, securing a spot in the US Olympic team for Rio 2016.

Commenting on his victory, the American champion said, “It has been an amazing experience here. It was a long trip getting to Gabala, but having another gold medal is certainly what I came here for.”

Sebastian Kuntschik from Austria earned the silver medal and Italian Gabriele Rossetti won bronze.

Arab sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum has also arrived to Gabala to compete in the World Cup.

He earned 48 points in Men’s Skeet competition.


Amina Nazarli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @amina_nazarli

Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz

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