Dubai USA shooters were at the forefront after the opening two rounds on the first day of the Nad Al Sheba Sporting Clays Championship, being held at the new shooting facility in Al Ruwayyah on Sunday.
American Andrew Duffy was at the top of the pack in the men’s competition, while teammate Diane Sorantino was in third place – separated by just two shots behind the top two Beatriz Laparra Cuenca of Spain (36) and Anna Jarnald of Sweden (35) in the women’s category.
Shooting on the sixth and seventh lay-outs, Duffy had identical scores of 22 on both visits for a total of 44. He was followed one shot behind by Cypriot Theocharis Christodoulides and Nicholas Hollick of Great Britain and Marco Battisti of Italy were tied in third with 42 points each.
In the women’s competition, multiple national champion Sorantino was always in the lead with scores of 16 and 18 for a total of 34. But later in the evening, the American leader was overtaken by Cuenca and Jarnald with efforts 36 and 35 during their visits to the lay-outs.
Sorantino’s team-mate Desirae Edmunds was in fourth (34) followed by two British shooters Cheryl Hall and Charlotte Kerwood with 32 points apiece.
In the special category reserved for shooters from the Middle East, the UAE’s Obaid Bin Dahi is in the lead with 36 points followed by a trio of Kuwaiti shooters – Fahad Al Dhehani, Mohammad Nayaf Al Dhehani and Saad Al Mutairi.
The UAE’s Ahmad Bin Mejren was in fifth with rounds of 17 and 14 followed by another two shooters from Kuwait, Abdullah Al Rashidi and Fahad Al Mutairi.
“I bet there will be at least two American shooters in the top five by the end of this competition,” predicted American shooter Scott Robertson.
“This is one of the most amazing events in the world of shooting and if you are a true shooter, then this is the place to be or it’s shame on you,” he added.
Judy Morris, head of delegation of the 46-member strong Team America, said she expected such a performance from her team. “We have some amazing champions in our side and I would be surprised if we were not at the top of the leaderboard,” she said.
Anthony Matarese, who opened with a 24 in the first lay-out found it tough against changing desert conditions and shot 16 in the second to be eighth in the men’s category. But he was still pleased with his form. “My score could have been 45, but the wind makes it tough. It will be close on the first three days and things will change on the fourth day,” Matarese said.
The preliminary rounds of the competition will continue on Monday with each shooter visiting the lay-outs for two rounds of 25. All shooters will get to shoot 200 targets after which the top six will contest for the right to be the champion.
On Monday, the first squad of shooters will go out at 8.30 am and the last squad will start at 3.30 pm. The final rounds of the preliminaries will be held on Wednesday morning followed by the finals in the afternoon session.
Nad Al Sheba championship
Men: 1. Andrew Duffy (USA) 44pts; 2. Theocharis Christodoulides (Cyprus) 43; 3. Nicholas Hollick (Great Britain) 42; 4. Marco Battisti (Italy) 42; 5. Christophe Auvret (France) 41; 6. Jose Manuel Rodriguez (Spain) 41; 7. Roger Jarnald (Sweden) 41; 8. Anthony Matarese (USA) 40; 9. Chris Biddlecombe (Great Britain) 40; 10. Jon Kruger (USA) 40; 11. Fedor Biankin (Russia) 40.
Women: 1. Beatriz Laparra Cuenca (Spain) 36; 2. Anna Jarnald (Sweden) 35; 3. Diane Sorantino (USA) 34; 4. Desirae Edmunds (USA) 34; 5. Cheryl Hall (Great Britain) 32; 6. Charlotte Kerwood (Great Britain) 32.
Middle East: 1. Obaid Bin Dahi (UAE) 36; 2. Fahad Al Dhehani (Kuwait) 34; 3. Mohammad Nayaf Al Dhehani (Kuwait) 32.