USA Shooting athletes Austen Smith, Kayle Browning and Maddy Bernau secured high honors at the 2021 ISSF President’s Cup for Shotgun, held at the Olympic Shooting Range in Larnaca, Cyprus, from October 19–24. The top 48 shotgun athletes in the world competed in four individual and two team events, which were held in a test mode following new rules outlined by the ISSF.
Making her World Cup final debut, Austen Smith (Keller, Texas) won her first “Golden Target” at the 2021 ISSF Shotgun President’s Cup, giving her the title of “Best Athlete of the Year” in Women’s Skeet. Smith also won gold in the Mixed Team Skeet event with Italian shooter, Gabriele Rossetti.
Smith was the youngest U.S. Olympic Team shooter at the Tokyo Games in 2021. Only shooting for seven years before Tokyo, Austen won World Championship silver in 2017, bronze in 2018 and a gold in 2019. She also made headlines by becoming a gold (individual) and bronze medalist (mixed team) at the 2021 ISSF World Cup. Smith is coached by three-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock.
Joining Smith on the podium was Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalist Kayle Browning (Wooster, Ark.), who captured the silver in Women’s Trap. Browning shot her way into the final from the sixth position and exited after some clutch shooting. She previously attended the invite-only event in 2012, finishing in sixth place that year.
Maddy Bernau (Waterford, Wisc.) is also bringing home a gold medal in the Mixed Team Trap event with partner David Kostelecky from the Czech Republic. She was happy to draw him as a partner for the event.
“David and I took gold for mixed team trap and had a blast competing together. As for the individual event, hey stuff happens, and at the end of the day you can't beat yourself for your performance,” said Bernau in a Instagram post. “You performed the best you could and nothing you say or do can change your score. No excuses this time. I'm walking away from this event with all smiles and super happy to be headed home.”
Bernau’s President’s Cup debut comes just three months after claiming an Olympic bronze medal in the Mixed Team Trap event in Tokyo. “This is only my sixth trip overseas out of my career and it is just the beginning,” added Bernau.
The next event for Team USA shotgun athletes is the National Shotgun Team Selection event in January 2022. Two of the finest U.S. shotgunners, Vincent Hancock (Eatonton, Ga.) who finished fourth in Men’s Skeet, and Amber English (Colorado Springs, Colo.) who finished seventh in Women’s Skeet at this year’s ISSF Shotgun President’s Cup, will be at next year's team selection event.
See the full results of the match at the ISSF website.
Story and photo courtesy of USA Shooting.
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