Cycling Mountain: Historic Qualification for Mexico at American Continental Champs

Brazil and Mexico won gold at the men’s and women’s mountain bike cross-country event respectively at the 2015 American Mountain Biking Continental Championships held from March 27th to March 29th 2015. In terms of Olympic qualification the top two nations in the men’s cross-country race qualify while the top nation in the women’s cross-country race will also qualify.

Henrique Avancini of Brazil won gold with a time of 1:34:42, 57 seconds ahead of second place Hector Paez Leon of Colombia whom secured the second quota for his country. Luis Mejia Sanchez whom is also from Colombia won the bronze.

In a historic day for Mexico Daniela Campuzano became the first female mountain biker from Mexico to qualify to the Olympics. She was able to take the gold medal with a time of 1:23:07, 58 seconds ahead of second place Erin Huck of the United States. The bronze went to Chloe Woodruff, also from the United States.

However the Olympic quotas are not set in stone because in the Olympic qualification for mountain biking the world rankings will have priority over the continental championships so if any nation qualifies through the rankings the next highest ranked nation at the continental championship will take the continental spot. Looking at the 2014 rankings Brazil will have a great chance at qualifying in the men’s event while Mexico was on the outside looking in for the women’s event. For reallocation purposes the next best ranked nations in the men’s event were Canada, Costa Rica and United States and for the women’s events they were United States, Canada and Colombia.

Quotas by Nations

  • Brazil – 1
  • Colombia – 1
  • Mexico – 1



Shooting: Italy and Europe Dominate 2nd Shotgun World Cup

After a relatively poor performance at the first shotgun World Cup Europe, led by Italy obtained all 10 of the available spots in the five shotgun events at the second World Cup event held in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates from March 19th to March 29th 2015. 2 quotas were available in each event. Italy was fantastic overall and gained 4 quotas and now has a total of 9 quotas out of a maximum 10 in shotgun events with only a second quota in the women’s trap missing.

In the women’s trap event San Marino’s Alessandra Perilli qualified to the final and won the first quota after hitting 14 targets in the semifinal. This is San Marino’s first Olympic quota and this event is considered to be that country’s best chance at winning their first Olympic medal. The other spot in the final and the second Olympic quota had to go to a shoot-out as four different shooters hit 13 targets. In the end it was Italy’s Silvana Stanco that won the shootout hitting six targets. In the final Stanco defeated Perilli with a score of 11-10.

The men’s trap had a tie to qualify for the finals with three shooters all scoring 14 hits in the semifinal. In an unusual event two different shootouts were required. The first shootout only lasted one shot as Croatia’s Josip Glasnovic was able to hit the first target, but both Czech Republic’s David Kostelecky and Turkey’s Oguzhan Tuzun missed. The second shootout also lasted one shot as it was Kostelecky who hit his target this time with Tuzun missing for the second time. Croatia and the Czech Republic won the two quotas. In the final Kostelecky defeated Glasnovic 14-12.

In the men’s double trap Italy’s Marco Innocenti scored a perfect 30 hits in the semifinal qualifying Italy’s second quota for this event. Vasily Mosin of Russia gained the second available quota by reaching the final with a score of 28. Mosin however was able to take the overall title defeating Innocenti 26-25.

The women’s skeet was an all Italian affair with the top three shooters in the semifinal being Italian. Specifically it was Diana Bacosi and Chiara Cainero reaching the final and qualifying Italy two more quotas for the Olympics. As a reminder the athletes do not qualify directly it is up to the National Olympic Committee to choose who gets to compete so Katiuscia Spada whom finished third still has a chance to compete at the Olympics. In the final Bacosi defeated Cainero 13-10.

The first quota in the men’s skeet went to Jesper Hansen of Denmark whom reached the final by scoring a perfect 16 in the semifinals. The second quota went to third place Andreas Chasikos of Cyprus because France’s Anthony Terras already obtained a quota for France during the 2014 World Championships. In the final Terras defeated Hansen 26-25.

The next shotgun World Cup will not be for another month, but it will be interesting to see what happens. With a bunch of top European shooters now qualified will we see another shift towards non-European nations outperforming European nations or will things start to equilibrate? Looking at the top performers from this World Cup Europe seems likely to take the majority of the spots, but nations like Australia, China and United States will be looking to expand their qualified quotas.

Quotas by Nation

  • Italy – 4
  • Croatia – 1
  • Cyprus – 1
  • Czech Republic – 1
  • Denmark – 1
  • Russia – 1
  • San Marino – 1


Handball: Angola wins African Women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament

For the sixth straight time Angola’s women’s handball team has qualified to the Olympics further cementing it as one of the best teams in Africa. The unusually small tournament which only saw four teams compete for an Olympic berth was held from March 19th to Match 21st 2015.

The format was a simple round robin where the top nation in the group qualifies to the Olympics. Angola and current African champions Tunisia both won their first two matches before meeting each other on the third and final day. Tunisia was able to take an early lead and was able to hold on to it until half-time where they led 12-10. Angola was then able to tie things up when there was a bit of a delay due to a leaky roof. Angola was able to take advantage of the stoppage and take the lead where they won 26-23. Senegal took bronze over the Democratic Republic of the Congo 25-22.

Things aren’t quite over for Tunisia as they will get one more try at one of the final qualification tournaments. Which tournament they will take part in will not be known until after the World Championships in December. Senegal could also qualify to the final qualification tournament if an Africa nation finishes in the top 2 continents at the World Championships.


Shooting: Australia, China, Italy and US all win quotas at the 2015 Shotgun World Cup

The first shotgun World Cup event of 2015 was held in Acapulco, Mexico from February 28th to March 10th 2015. In each of the five Olympic shotgun events two quotas were available for a total of 10 quotas.

In the women’s trap event the quota places were won in the semifinals when Australia’s Laetisha Scanlan finished first with a score of 14 while United States’ Corey Cogwell had to go through a shootout against Kayle Browning also from the United States in order to win the second quota place. In the final Cogwell defeated Scanlan 13-9.

For the men’s trap both Australia’s Michael Diamond and Italy’s Massimo Fabbrizi finished tied with 13 points, but it was enough to grant them a spot in the final and Olympic qualification. In the final Fabbrizi defeated Diamond 12-11.

In the men’s double trap China’s Hu Binyuan scored a perfect semifinal of 30 points to qualify to the final and an Olympic quota. The second quota had an intense shootout between two Americans where Jeffrey Holguin defeated Derek Haldeman 52-51 after both scored 29 points in the semifinal. In the final Holguin defeated Hu in a shootout 8-7 after both scored 28 points.

The women’s skeet final was an all United States affair with Kimberley Rhode defeating Caitlin Connor 15-13 in the final. However, since the United States already won a quota at the 2014 World Shooting Championships and the maximum a nation can get in one event are two quotas the second quota went to the third place finisher in this event which was Wei Meng of China whom defeated Cyprus’ Andri Eleftheriou 16-8.

While United States’ Vincent Hancock won the men’s skeet event over Italy’s Valerio Luchini 16-14 he was not given an Olympic quota because he already won a quota during the 2014 American Shooting Championships and thus the quota went to third place Riccardo Filippelli of Italy.

Overall this was a great world cup for both Italy and United States whom won three spots each. After a relative slow start the United States now has a total of 8 quotas in shooting and has already qualified the maximum quotas in men’s double trap and women’s skeet. This is good news to the other nations in the Americas because the more the United States wins at the world cup events the better chance they will have winning quotas at the 2015 Pan American Games. The same can be said about Australia and Oceania as they have reached the maximum quotas in women’s trap and with Michael Diamond winning a quota in the men’s trap the potential match-up between New Zealand, Australia’s second shooter and Fiji’s Glenn Kable is shaping up to be an interesting fight at the Oceania championships.

Quotas by Nation

  • Italy – 3
  • United States – 3
  • Australia – 2
  • China – 2