COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– The American women once again found the podium at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Clay Target Championship in Belgrade, Serbia. Internationally known Women’s Skeet magician Kim Rhode (El Monte, Calif.) shot 72 match targets to tie four other shooters for only three spots in the final. Relying on decades of experience (four Olympic medals to be exact) Rhode didn’t break a sweat as she sailed into the final with four shoot-off targets. She was joined by Katiuscia Spada of Italy and Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit of Thailand. Rhode, the 2010 World Champion, continued on the path to success with the highest final of 25 targets for 97 out of 100 total targets to tie China’s Wei Ning. Ning and Rhode battled it out for the silver and bronze medals in an eight target shoot-off. Ning finished with eight targets for the silver medal and Rhode won the bronze medal with seven targets. Rhode said, “It is an honor to represent the USA and bring home a medal. This was a great test of my skills against the competition that I will face in London and my goal of five medals in five Olympic Games.” National Shotgun Coach Bret Erickson commented, “Kim established herself as a front runner for the 2012 Olympic Games with a solid third place performance against outstanding competition.” The gold medalist was Germany’s Christine Wenzel with 98 total targets (74+24). Olympic Training Center Resident Athletes Jaiden Grinnell (Port Angeles, Wash.) finished in eleventh place with 71 targets and teammate Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, La.) shot 65 targets.
Young Morgan Craft (Hughesville, Pa.) shot 68 out of 75 match targets to tie with Lucie Anastassiou of France for the silver and bronze medals. Craft shot one target to Anastassiou’s two targets in the shoot-off to claim the bronze medal for the red, white and blue. Craft, a freshman at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Mo., was elated to receive the bronze medal as she said, “All the time, sweat and dedication put into my training this summer more than paid off when the bronze medal was placed around my neck on the podium while representing the USA.” Her successful finish was even sweeter as this Championship was Craft’s first overseas trip. Erickson was proud of the junior team’s tenacity and development as he said, “I’m impressed with our junior team’s performance. Morgan had a terrific day and should be proud of her first international medal. These young athletes are the foundation for success in the future.” Teammates Brandy Drozd (Bryan, Texas) finished in fourth place with 67 targets and Riley Moody (Collinsville, Okla.) shot 58 targets for eighteenth place. With strong shooting from all three athletes, the Women’s Junior Team claimed the team bronze medal. For complete results, please visit the ISSF website or the ISSF YouTube channel for finals footage.