Fifteen-year-old Shapath Bharadwaj reached his maiden Shooting World Cup final when he qualified on a shootoff in fourth position out of the top six in the men's double trap event in Larnaka, Cyprus. Shapath eventually finished sixth in the final, being the first to be eliminated after shooting 26 out of the first round of 30 targets.
Despite faltering in the final, the result was a remarkable one for the teenager from Meerut, who has only been shooting competitively for the last two-and-a-half years.
Indeed, Shapath was shooting in only his second World Cup. He had made his debut at the ISSF World Cup in February this year, held in Delhi.
Shapath didn't get off to the best of starts, shooting just 24 (out of a possible 30) in his first series. He soon got into his groove though by shooting a perfect 30 in his second series and 27 in his subsequent three series to finish with a score of 135.
Shapath was one of four shooters who finished with that score. A shootoff was held to determine places 4th to 7th, with only the top six shooting in the final.
Shapath beat former World Cup gold medalist Davide Gasparini, shooting 22 to Gasparini's 21 to make it through to the next round. Shapath's teammates Sangram Dahiya and Ankur Mittal - who had won silver at the World Cup in Delhi - finished 17th and 19th respectively, with identical scores of 127.
In the final, Shapath was level in second place after the first series of five but faltered badly in his ninth attempt, missing both birds. Another miss in the next series ended his chances in the competition.
The loss at what is the third and final World Cup stage for Shotgun athletes this year means that Shapath will likely not feature in the Shooting World Cup finals which will be held in Delhi later this year.
Only the top eight shooters (based on a points system) qualify for the year-ender. Bharadwaj is currently 16th in the list.

Posted by Thom Erik Syrdahl
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