Victory tasted especially sweet for shooter Aaron Heading as he ended a five-year wait for his second World Cup gold with victory in Malta.
The 31-year-old overcame difficult weather conditions to win the men’s trap final at the fifth stage of the 2018 ISSF World Cup Series.
That was the first time he had climbed to the top of a World Cup podium since his maiden victory in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.
He overcame Du Yu of the People’s Republic of China at the Malta National Shooting Ranges after the final eventually got underway following a 90-minute delay caused by strong winds.
The two shooters moved clear of the rest of the field with 20 clays left to shoot, before entering the final ten targets with 34 hits apiece.
Du then missed three of his first five clays as Heading, winner of Commonwealth Games silver on the Gold Coast in April, took the lead before prevailing with 42 hits out of 50, with his Chinese rival pocketing silver after finishing with 38 hits.
“I feel amazing,” said four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Heading. “But firstly, I want to say thank you to the Maltese Federation for building a great facility, they’ve done an amazing work and everybody here has been fantastic.
“Obviously the wind was a big issue, but I kept it together and didn’t give up.
“I just kept to program, kept going and going, I could hear my opponent missing a couple of targets, but I kept my focus on mine and look what happened.”
The podium in the men’s Trap was completed by Slovakia’s Marian Kovacocy, as he claimed the first World Cup medal of his career.
Heading’s gold medal is Great Britain’s second at the World Cup Series in Siggiewi after Amber Hill also finished first in the women’s Skeet event.