Review of Day 9
Day 9 was an all-female affair for Scotland's shooters at Belmont with the Rifle athletes coming back for a second consecutive day. The Women's Trap competition was also getting started so the long wait for Scotland's female Trap athlete was finally over, after watching the Double Trap shooters both win medals 48 hours earlier.
First up on Day 9 Jennifer McIntosh and Seonaid McIntosh back in action in the Women's 3P Rifle Qualification. Having the luxury of a lie-in the day before, there were not so lucky this time around with the competition starting at 08.30 (11.30 GMT). Fresh from her Bronze medal from the day before Seonaid was looking to see if she could add to her collection and emulate the Gold medal winning performance from back in November when she won the CSF Championships. Jennifer was looking to brush off the previous day and add to her Commonwealth medal haul of five, cementing her position as the Scottish lady with the most Commonwealth medals to her name across any sport. The competition started with the Kneeling stage and Jennifer got off to a really strong start with her first few shots before Seonaid also started to make good progress. Both athletes slightly stuttered following strong starts, each posting scores of 95. In the second round Seonaid got off to a strong start and held her nerve, improving her previous score and ending the round with a 97 leaving her on 192-7x and in 10th. Jennifer on the other hand had a slightly wobbly start but showed true grit to dig in and came back with a score of 96 finishing with 191-5x putting her in 12th. Moving on to the Prone both girls matched each other again in the first round, both posting excellent scores of 99. In the second round there was very little to separate them but near the end Seonaid crept ahead and finished with a small advantage scoring 98 compared to Jennifer's 97. Those scores meant that after the Prone Seonaid was on 389-19v in 5th and Jennifer 387-15x in 8th and with top 8 qualifying for the final it meant booth girls had put themselves in good positions to qualify. The Standing section is the final part of qualification and it was clear from the start even the top placed shooters were struggling here. However, chasing down a spot in the final Jennifer put in an outstanding shoot, scoring 96 and then 95 to finish with a score of 578-23x. Seonaid found this stage a little a more of a struggle but still managed to post good scores of 93 and 94 meaning she finished with a score of 576-21x. It was a competition of extremely high standards at the top - the previous Commonwealth record was 581 set in Glasgow but in this qualification round all 3 of the top placed shooters broke that record with the 1st placed Anjum Moudgil finishing with a fantastic 589-32x, setting a new record. This puts in perspective how tough qualification was but both girls put in strong scores that meant Jennifer qualified in 4th and Seonaid 6th for the final. It was a great result, made all the more impressive against really tough competition.
Moving on to the final, the slate was wiped clean and both Jennifer and Seonaid went in knowing they both have the performances required to come away with a medal in them. Again the final started with the kneeling stage and after the first 5 shots Jennifer had set the benchmark for everyone else with 50.9 with Seonaid also posting a solid opening score of 50.4. Jennifer's form then dropped slightly as she posted a 48.2 in the next 5 shots with Seonaid also dropping a little with a 49.3. In the final set of 5 Jennifer continued to struggle to hit the heights of her opening 5 shots and scored 48.5 leaving her in 8th with 147.6. Seonaid managed to bounce back with her best 5 shots of the stage scoring 50.5 pushing her up to 6th with a score of 150.2. Next up was the Prone stage again, following the same format with each athlete shooting 3 sets of 5 shots. Great opening scores by both girls with Jennifer scoring 51.4 and Seonaid 50.7 made things interesting, Jennifer closing the gap on 7th to 1.0 and Seonaid moving to 5th. Both girls then went better again, Seonaid scoring 51.8 and Jennifer a fantastic 52.6 putting her up to joint 6th going into the last 5. Both Jennifer and Seonaid were now on a charge and Jennifer scored another impressive 52.5 to move her to 6th place outright on 304.1, 0.4 behind 5th. Seonaid finished with 52.0 pushing her up to 4th on 304.7. There was then a gap to the top 3 on 308.0, 309.1 and 310.1 but with 2 sets of 5 for Standing before moving to the elimination rounds it wasn't over yet. Going into the first 5 Jennifer couldn't find the form she showed in this section during qualifying and posted scores of 47.2 and 46.9 dropping her back down to 8th and sadly out of the competition as both 8th and 7th are knocked out leaving 6 in. However, Seonaid was shooting beautifully and scores of 50.3 and 50.4 suddenly moved her up to the Bronze medal position and breathing down the neck of Silver and Gold. It was now a knockout after each shot and with scores of 9.6 and then 9.7 Seonaid stayed in the Bronze medal position with only 4 athletes left. Showing nerves of steel a 9.4 secured her the Bronze medal. Pushing for silver Seonaid then scored a sensational 10.5 but it wasn't enough to move her up which meant she was then knocked out but having won her second BRONZE MEDAL of the 2018 Commonwealth Games pushing Scotland's total to 6 for shooting in 2018, an incredible result and an incredible second Commonwealth Games for Seonaid!
BRONZE MEDAL - SEONAID MCINTOSH - WOMEN'S 50M 3P RIFLE
After all the drama of the Double Trap 48 hours earlier, the shotgun events once again took centre stage at Belmont with Scotland's Sharon Niven now taking centre stage to compete in the Women's Trap competition. Fresh from some impressive second place finishes at international competitions the year before, Sharon was raring to go having to wait until Day 9 at Belmont to compete, watching in the wings until now as her STS colleagues were competing. But this was her time and Sharon wasted no time in getting business and after the first round she posted a very impressive opening score of 23 putting her in 3rd position, with 1st place scoring 25 and 2nd 24 but she couldn't let up as there were another 3 athletes sharing the same score as her. The second round was clearly challenging as several scores seemed to drop but Sharon held her nerve and despite a slight drop compared to her opening score, she scored 21 in Round 2 moving her onto 44 putting her in 7th with 6th place on the same score, 5th and 4th on 45, 3rd an 2nd on 46 and 1st on 47. With one round to go and the top 6 qualifying for the final later it was getting tense. One of the first group of athletes to go, Sharon went out hard and repeated the form of her first round setting a score of 23 and an overall score of 67, a very competitive score but with so many athletes still to shoot there was an anxious wait to see if she would qualify. As the remaining athletes went through the round and started dropping shots, it was become clear that there was a good chance she would reach the final in her first Commonwealth Games. Once all the athletes had finished and the dust had settled it was confirmed that Sharon had qualified but it wasn't that simple. The top 7 athletes at the end of the 3 rounds had to be involved in a shoot off. The top 3 were all tied on 69 so their order had to be decided, Sharon was tied on 4th so was guaranteed a place in the final but had to shoot off to determine whether she qualified in 4th or 5th since both athletes were tied on 67, while a further shot back on 66 two more athletes were tied and had to shoot off to determine who qualified, all adding to the tension. Ironically, Sharon was tied and had to shoot off against the Indian shooter Shreyasi Singh, the same athlete who earlier in the week had competed against Linda Pearson and took Double Trap Gold. In the end the Indian shooter won through +3 but Sharon had still qualified for the final in 5th which is outstanding.
The final came round quick as a flash after the various shoot-offs required. In the final all 6 athletes shoot 25 clays each and then the bottom score is eliminated. The athlete with the lowest score after every 5 clays is then eliminated until it gets down to the last 2 when a further 10 clays is shot to determine the winner. Sharon got off to a great start and after the first 5 clays she hadn't missed a thing and was joint top with one other as everyone else missed at least one shot. From that point on there was some nerveless shooting from the other competitors and on this particular day Sharon was not able to keep pace so after the first round of 25 Sharon was sitting on 6th and was eliminated. Amazingly, Laetisha Scanlan, who has good pedigree in this event but only qualified for the final via a closely fought shoot-off, went on to win the final showing how unpredictable the final was. It was still an excellent performance by Sharon at her first Commonwealth Games and putting in an excellent performance to even make the final.
Ones to Watch on the Final Day (Day 10)
Day 10 sees the last day of the shooting programme at Belmont and this time its the turn of Scotland's men to take centre stage. With the Women's Rifle programme done and dusted, it falls for the men to finish things off while the athletes contesting the Queens Prize, fresh from having 24 hours off, are back. In each case below please note the time stated in the Australian time but we have provided the British time too for setting your watch:
- All the focus for the last 48 hours have, rightly, been on the Women's Rifle competitions but on the final day the last word on the rifle range is going to go to the men with the Men's 50m 3P Rifle Qualification starting at 09.00 (00.00 GMT). STS's Neil Stirton returns to the range where he won the Silver medal in the 50m Prone event 96 hours earlier. With plenty of rest Neil will be looking to see if he can get a second medal of the games and fifth Commonwealth Games medal overall to end the Games on even more of a high.
- After 24 hours rest following four long days of competition with the Individual competition starting the day after the Pairs event finished, the third and final day of the Queens Prize Individual Finals will kick off at 10.00 (01.00 GMT) with Sandy Walker starting from 14th and Ian Shaw in 5th. On the final day all shooters will compete over 900 and 1000 yards to see who will come out on top and with it so tight, its anyone's guess Ian is in his 6th Commonwealth Games and he will no doubt be hoping he can win a medal for Scotland on the final day of competition on the Belmont fullbore range.
With Neil showing outstanding form in the 50m Prone, there's nothing to say he wont qualify and medal in the 50m 3P event so make sure to note the time of the final to see if he can win Scotland and himself another medal on the final day of competition:
- 12.45 (03.45 GMT) for the Men's 50m 3P Rifle Final
As with every competition, we wish all STS athletes all the best and in the blazing sun at Belmont Shooting Ground tomorrow!
Although we compete in and have a particular fondness for different disciplines, we are one brilliant sport and one great country. Show your support by using the hashtag #TeamSTS
Report by Oliver Barsby, Photos credited to Jeff Holmes & Donald McIntosh