It isn’t for nothing that Martin Strempfl is called the most experienced online shooter. In the month long World’s first Online Shooting League (OSL), the World No. 34 proved his worth and again on Sunday, the 35-year-old played the lead role in the Austrian Rocks’ 10-4 win against the Italian Style on Sunday.
The final was a repeat of the OSL’s opening match but just that the winner got switched. The fact was not lost on the victorious team as Bernhard Pickl, who was the day’s next best shooter after Strempfl, drove home the point. “The Austrian Rocks were more long lasting than the Italian Style and it was a good revenge.” The 8-10 loss on July 4 had stayed with the Austrians, and from the beginning they looked like a team on a mission to wipe off that mark.
On paper, the Italians were the fancied lot given the presence of two Olympic quota winners Marco Suppini and Lorenzo Bacci, and the competent Martina Ziviani, but driven by a cause, Strempfl, also an Olympic quota winner, Pickl and Georg Zott were practically unstoppable from the start despite the Italians briefly bouncing back at the start to make it 1-1 and then 2-2.
It wasn’t as if the Italians had a bad day, they simply succumbed to the brilliance of Strempfl, who began with a 10.8 and shot a perfect 10.9 thrice on crucial points to be undisputed shooter of the day with 157.7 points in the match which lasted 15 rounds. In Pickl and Zott, Strempfl had two able allies and with the two also getting three perfect shots between them, the Italians did not stand a chance. An example of the domination could be gauged in round 8 when Strempfl and Pickl scored 10.9 each to notch up a score of 32.5 for a record in the OSL. In comparison, Suppini and Bacci came up with 10.7 and 10.6 respectively but that wasn’t good enough on this day. There was some respite for the Italians in round 12 when they forced a tie at 30.6 but lost a chance at 8-4 to pick up a point after the Austrians had a relatively quiet round and Bacci faltered with a 9.8.
Proving that they were the worthy winners, Strempfl made up for the previous 10.5 with a 10.9 and Pickl shot 10.6 to make it 9-4. With little else left in the match, the talk in the ensuing break was whether the Italians would be able to grab a point or two, but Strempfl’s 10.9 and Pickl’s 10.7 put rest to speculation of an Italian comeback.
Euphoric, Strempfl termed the win as a victory for sport. As for his perfect 10.9s, he was modest in saying, “You need some luck for that,” but his performance actually was an example of how the combination of skill and right equipment can do wonders.