June 1, 2009

Spain's Ballesteros Takes European Steel Challenge

SEDRO-WOOLLEY, Wash. — Jorge Ballesteros of Spain captured the Steel Challenge title at the 2009 European Speed Shooting Championships held May 22 and 23 at the Steel Challenge ranges in Winterswijk, Netherlands.

Ballesteros won the Open Pistol title with a time of 61.31 seconds, besting last year’s top time by just over two and a half seconds.

Jan ter Borg of the Netherlands finished second with 66.73 seconds while Germany’s Oliver Damm placed third for the second year in a row with a time of 71.96 seconds. Rounding out the top five were defending champion Saul Kirsch and Chi Hong Ho, both of the Netherlands, in fourth with 72.02 and fifth with 72.85 seconds respectively.

Spain's Ballesteros

The European Steel Challenge drew 135 top speed shooters from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United States, all vying for their share of $40,000 in cash and prizes and the title of Europe’s Fastest Gun. The match was shot indoors and featured six of the eight stages used in the Steel Challenge: Smoke & Hope, Five to Go, Roundabout, Speed Option, Accelerator and Outer Limits.

“The European Steel Challenge is growing in popularity thanks to the hard work of match director Hans Wigger and, with so many strong competitors, it’s only a matter of time before we see a squad of top Europeans competing at the World Speed Shooting Championships here in the U.S.,” said Dave Thomas, executive director of the Steel Challenge Shooting Association (SCSA).

In the Open Revolver division shooters from the Netherlands ran the table with Mario Siemeling leading the way and defending his 2008 win by posting a time of 68.99. Harry ter Borg, who finished third in 2008, moved up to second shooting a time of 77.00 seconds. In third with a time of 78.35 was Jan ter Borg. Fourth place went to Chi Hong Ho who shot a time of 78.87 while Lucien Rooiendijk took fifth a second year in a row with 84.64.

Rooiendijk redeemed himself by winning the Small Caliber division title in a time of 56.20 seconds. Defending Small Caliber champion Jan ter Borg finished second with 56.98 seconds and Germany’s Oliver Damm took third with 57.24 seconds. Mario Siemeling and Germany’s Heribert Bettermann finished fourth and fifth with times of 60.81 and 63.54.

Marijan Loch of Germany repeated as the Standard Pistol division champion in a time of 77.34, just 1.58 seconds ahead of Paolo Brocanelli of Italy who took second with 78.92 seconds. Saul Kirsch took third again this year shooting a time of 78.93. Rounding out the top five were Mario Siemeling with 83.69, good enough for fourth, and Jorge Ballesteros in fifth with a time of 85.93 seconds.

In the fifth and final division, Standard Revolver, Mario Siemeling defended his 2008 win shooting a time of 89.64 and once again edged out Harry ter Borg who took second with 91.59. Third place went to Winfred Oude Voshaar of the Netherlands with a time of 79.65 seconds. Denmark’s Knud Erik Poulsen captured fourth posting a time of 109.97 while fifth place went to Germany’s Thorsten Hetzel with a time of 113.59 seconds.

The Steel Challenge and the five target timed format was established in the United States in 1981 by Mike Dalton and Mike Fichman to determine the world's fastest shooter. To learn more about the Steel Challenge and the Steel Challenge Shooting Association visit www.SteelChallenge.com.

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