Beijing 2008 Olympic champion Satu Makela-Nummela won the first gold medal of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in Baku after claiming top honours in the women’s trap competition.
Despite strong winds at the Baku Shooting Centre, the Finn hit 14 targets in the final to leave her Lebanese opponent Ray Bassil in second with 13 hits.
Victory secured the 45-year-old her first World Cup gold medal since 2015, the same year she placed fifth at the inaugural European Games held on the very same range in Azerbaijan’s capital.
Makela-Nummela had earlier crushed 14 clays in the semi-final to finish top of the table together with Bassil.
Bassil’s runners-up finish secured her third medal of the season, following gold in Nicosia and silver in Rio de Janeiro.
It also sees the 27-year old shooter climb to the top of the world rankings, putting her firmly among the favourites in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Even though her country didn’t secure a quota place for the women’s trap event during the qualification period, Bassil has recently received an Olympic Tripartite Commission Invitation that allows her to be on the start-line in Rio.
The bronze medal went to 19-year-old Italian Alessia Iezzi, who beat Australia’s Laetisha Scanland by 14 clays to 13.
Iezzi, a 2015 junior world champion, was not even listed in the world rankings until today having had limited experience in senior events.
Action in Baku is due to continue tomorrow with three events.
Medals will be handed out in the women’s 10 metre air pistol, the men’s 10m air rifle and the men's trap.