Three-time Olympian Keith Sanderson won his first-ever ISSF World Cup Final gold medal and crystal globe in 25-meter rapid fire pistol on Sunday in New Delhi.
The 42-year-old recently retired U.S. Army veteran won his first globe on his seventh trip to the World Cup Final. His best finish at the season-ending event before now was a bronze earned in 2011.
He had world cup golds from 2009 and 2014 going into this year’s World Cup Final – part of nine career world cup medals – but his best finish on the world cup stage this season was sixth in Gabala, Azerbaijan.
Sanderson hit 31 out of 40 shots in the final to win the event over France’s Clement Bessaguet (29) and Korean Republic’s Jong Ho Song (24). Sanderson hit two perfect 5-hit targets to take the lead over Song and Bessaguet, and then two consecutive 4-hit targets to outpace Bessaguet.
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“In my first couple of World Cup Final starts, I really had no idea what I was doing,” said Sanderson, who made his World Cup Final debut 10 years ago. “Last year it was pretty bad to finish dead last in Bologna, but here, I prepared a lot for this competition, and I think that the outcome speaks for itself. … It feels great to finally win the title.”
Sanderson, who is based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is moving to Seattle for a new job following his retirement from the U.S. Army. He plans on taking the rest of the year off from competition, but to continue training.
Sanderson’s gold medal was the second of the World Cup Final for Team USA.
On Wednesday, six-time Olympic medalist Kim Rhode won her second straight World Cup Final – her third overall – in skeet following a shoot-off against Olympic champion Diana Bacosi of Italy after both shooters tied the world record during regulation rounds.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.