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Petriv clinches 25m rapid fire pistol gold

Special Correspondent

— Photo: AP

GOLDEN SHOT: Vincent Hancock was on target in the skeet event.

BEIJING: An Olympic final record performance from Oleksandr Petriv of Ukraine won him the 25-metre rapid fire pistol gold here on Saturday. Ralf Schumann of Germany, looking for his fourth gold to add to the ones he had won in Athens, Atlanta and Barcelona, ended up adding to the silver he had won in Seoul, missing out on the top prize by 0.7 points.

Schumann himself won the silver a mere 0.2 points ahead of compatriot Christian Reitz.

“Finals are usually my sticky point. Today, I learnt from my past mistakes and performed well. My colleagues consider me insane, but I do not think this time was spent in vain,” said the 34-year-old Petriv, who was making his Olympic debut despite having pursued the sport for the past 22 years.

Schumann was happy to get the silver and about the fact that two Germans were on the podium.

“Anything can happen in this kind of final. You just have to do your best. It is great both of us have medals, as we both train together. He is younger to me. I am not too old. I am 46, and I plan to keep going,” said Schumann, who had finished fifth in Sydney, the only time in six successive Olympics when he did not win a gold or silver.

Keith Sanderson, the leader going into the final with an Olympic record of 583, ended up fifth after a poor third series.

Zhang Penghui of China was disqualified during the second stage of qualification as he had thrice raised his arm too soon.

The 19-year-old Vincent Hancock shocked a strong field to bag the skeet gold — the first in the event for the US — with two Olympic records. The young man revealed nerves of steel as he won the tie-shoot for gold 4-3 against Tore Brovold of Norway.

Hancock led the six finalists with a 121 but dropped the 20th bird while Brovold shot a perfect 25 to tie. “I have always dreamt of getting gold. When I missed the low house, it only made me more determined,” said Hancock.

World No. 1 Georgios Achilleos of Cyprus finished fifth with a 143 while Qu Ridong of China, who secured the last berth in the final after a seven-way shoot-off, finished sixth with 142.

Defending champion Andrea Benelli of Italy was 24th with 113 while compatriot Ennio Falco and Mikola Milchev of Ukraine, the gold medallists from Sydney and Atlanta respectively, finished 15th and 32nd respectively.

The shooting events will wind up with the men’s free rifle 3-position on Sunday. Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput will attempt to provide India a memorable finish in the wake of Abhinav Bindra’s success.

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