The 10 athletes heading to the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Final in New Delhi, India, hope to end the international season by winning one of the coveted glass globe trophies awarded to the year’s best-of-the-best athletes at this invitation-only match. A total of 160 athletes from 15 countries will compete in this year’s World Cup Final.
The newly-minted Olympic shooting events―Air Rifle Mixed Team, Air Pistol Mixed Team and Trap Mixed Team will debut at this World Cup Final. The U.S. has two teams represented in the Trap Mixed Team event: Kayle Browning and Jake Wallace and World Championship bronze medalists Ashley Carroll and Derek Haldeman.
Browning (Wooster, AR) and Wallace (Castaic, CA) won a team silver at the World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico. Carroll (Solvang, CA) and Haldeman (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Sunbury, OH) won team bronze medals at the World Championship in Moscow, Russia. Interestingly, this match will be the first time that both teams will know who their teammate is before entering the match.
“The way the team event goes, it’s still a pretty individual game,” said Haldeman, who will make his World Cup Final debut in New Delhi. Haldeman was a Double Trap specialist and fully converted to Trap this season upon Double Trap’s elimination from the Olympic program. “It’s hard to help each other out during the actual competition. [Carroll] came down to Fort Benning to work on stuff. We worked on how we can work together, what we can say and what we can’t say, and that's kind of how we were getting ready for World Cup Final.” Haldeman added, “We’ll shoot together, have fun with it and see what happens!”
This has been a banner year for USA Shooting’s shotgun athletes, as the team has garnered 26 top-10 finishes in international competition, along with 12 individual medals and eight team medals. Hoping to add to this will be the Women’s Skeet competitors in this event, including National and World Champion Dania Vizzi (Odessa, FL); World Cup Acapulco silver medalist and fourth-place finisher at World Cup New Delhi Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, LA); and six-time Olympic medalist, defending World Cup Final Champion and NRA Board Member Kim Rhode (El Monte, CA), who won two golds and a silver in World Cup competition this year alone. Rhode also finished fourth at the World Championship. Additionally, the trio of Rhode, Vizzi and Connor (pictured at top) won a team gold medal at the World Championship―where they set a team world record.
“I’m so excited, it’s my first World Cup Final!” exclaimed Vizzi. “I already accomplished my goal for the year so going into this, I just want to have fun. It’s not like that because I won in Russia I have to put all this pressure on me. We already have some of the best Skeet ladies in the world right here in the U.S. that I compete with all the time. [Coach Todd Graves] said this is a fun shoot every year so I'm going to go out and have a fun shoot.”
2016 Olympic gold medalist Ginny Thrasher (Springfield, VA) will be the lone U.S. rifle shooter at this World Cup Final. Thrasher, who earned her berth by virtue of her Olympic gold medal, also won bronze at the 2016 World Cup Final in Bologna, Italy.
Two-time Olympian Frank Thompson (Alliance, NE) will be the single U.S. Men’s Skeet representative. Thompson won his first World Cup medal when he won silver in Acapulco.
Ashley Carroll will be the only U.S. competitor in Women’s Trap. Carroll had a breakout year with not only her third National Championship win in a row, but also with her gold-medal win and world-record finish at World Cup Acapulco, and sixth-place finish at the World Championship.
Wrapping up this World Cup Final will be Men’s Rapid Fire Pistol with Keith Sanderson (Colorado Springs, CO) as the lone U.S. competitor. Sanderson’s top international finish in 2017 was sixth-place at World Cup Gabala (Azerbaijan).
The match concludes on October 30. The ISSF World Cup Final occurs each year at the end of the World Cup season. Athletes earn points through finishes throughout the season, with the eight best athletes in each event with the highest qualification values earning invitations to this match. Wild card invitations are also granted to title defenders and in years of the Olympic Games and World Championships, to the three medalists in each event.