Milenko Sebic’s effort of driving 17 hours from Osijek, one of the biggest cities of Croatia, into Austria paid off as he beat reigning Olympic champion Ginny Thrasher of the US 2-0 to advance to the final of “TOPGUN” on Thursday.
Ginny’s loss to the World No 28 Serbian ended America’s challenge in the 10-day online shooting competition being organised by indianshooting.com, and now she will meet teammate and World No 3 Lucas Kozeniesky in the bronze medal match on Friday. Milenko will clash with Austria’s Martin Strempfl to decide the gold on Saturday.
The long drive did take a toll on the tall Serb as he admitted later, but that did not deter Milenko from maintaining the high standards he is known for. Fresh from the silver at recent Grand Prix in Croatia, Milenko has carried on the momentum. He had a slow start in the opening ‘Race To 10’ match as Ginny took a 6-4 lead but he reeled off the remaining points to win 10-6. Interestingly, Milenko shot the quarterfinal from Croatia, the semifinal from Austria and hopes to shoot for gold from his base in Serbia.
The scoreline in the first match did not reflect the close contest as the two shooters began with identical 10.7s and again matched the feat in the fourth shot with a 10.5. There were perfect 10.9s by the duo as well but Ginny’s undoing was the sub-10 scores on three occasions.
Ginny’s struggles towards the close of the opener appeared to be over as she started the second match with a 10.8 to match Milenko and shot consecutive perfect scores on the 7th and 8th shots but then Milenko did not allow her a foothold by keeping the pressure on. He took the lead and ensured it stayed that way despite Ginny running him close with another perfect score to make it 6-7. Milenko replied with another 10.9 and the never shot lower than 10.5 in the next three shots to take the match 10-7.
Milenko admitted that the semifinal tested him to the hilt. “It was challenging and by the end I was tired,” said the ISSF World Cup Final silver medallist, who also had to cope with issues of connectivity apart from fatigue.
Ginny took the loss in her stride and complimented Milenko’s superlative show. “Milenko was great, and I love shooting next to him. I wanted to take it to the third match but that was not to be. Still, I did not make it easy for him,” she said. USA coach Dan Durben was a proud man as he watched his shooter overcome initial problems and post an excellent recovery and he complimented Ginny’s show.
Competing with training partner Lucas for bronze on Friday will be a chance to make up for this loss, and Ginny is already looking forward it. “It will be like any other match and may the best man/woman win,” she said.