Aussie trap shooters on target for final
Australian shooters Laetisha Scanlan and Penny Smith are both well placed to advance to the women's trap final at the Tokyo Olympics, having started qualifying with a bang.
Scanlan is fifth on the leaderboard after hitting 73 of 75 targets across Wednesday's three rounds, while sixth-placed Smith closed with a faultless round while bringing down a total of 72 targets.
James Willett, whose list of achievements include being the only Australian outside medal glutton Michael Diamond to register a perfect qualifying score of 125 at a major event, is ranked 15th at the same stage of the men's competition.
The Australians will return to the Asaka range for a further two qualification rounds on Thursday morning, with the top six competitors then advancing to an afternoon final.
Willett missed two targets in his opening round en route to a score of 72, while compatriot Tom Grice is 24th after logging a score of 71.
There are nine male shooters on 73, while five of Willett and Grice's rivals managed to break 74 targets.
It sets the stage for a tight finish to the qualifying phase of the event that Diamond won at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Victorians Scanlan and Smith were picked for these Games ahead of Rio 2016 gold medallist Catherine Skinner, underlining Australia's depth.
Smith is shooting at her first Olympics, while Scanlan finished fifth at the Rio Games.
"I was such a fresh, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed shooter at Rio," Scanlan told AAP prior to flying out to Japan.
"I just didn't know what to expect.
"I feel like I've matured as an athlete and a person so much since.
"I look back now and it's bittersweet. It was great for my first Olympics, but I would have loved to medal.
"I think of Tokyo now and there's a little bit of redemption there that needs to be done."
Slovak Zuzana Rehak-Stefecekova tops the women's standings in Tokyo after failing to miss a single target.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails