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Shooting roundup: Breakthrough for veteran shooters
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20:44, August 12, 2008

It is not the first time for them to compete in the Olympic arena.

But Tuesday marked the historic moments in their own lives.

In the men's 50m pistol event in the morning, Jin Jong Oh from South Korea, who got a silver at the Athens Games, surged up from the behind to crown with 660.4 points.

The silver medal was gained by Kim Jong Su, 31-year-old Athens bronze medalist from the DPR Korea, with 660.2 points, while Chinese four-time Olympian Tan Zongliang chalked in 659.5 points to end his Olympic medal drought with a bronze.

The competition was full of suspension.

Jin, 29, shared the same qualification score of 563 points with four other shooters, including Kim, and was two points behind Tan.

In the first shot, Tan stunned spectators with a 7.9, losing his advantage and dropped to the second. Leading position was taken up by Jin who made a 10.3, the highest among all finalists.

In the second shot, Jin maintained his momentum to score a 10.5, while Tan further plunged to the fourth with a 9.2.

The third shot saw Tan regaining his sharpness a little bit to make a 10.2. He rose to the third but was still 1.3 points behind the leading Jin.

Upsetting the home spectators who applauded to encourage him, Tan made an 8.1 in the fourth shot and fell to the fifth.

Jin was no better than him. With an 8.5, he swooped to the third.

In the following five shots, both Jin and Tan mustered up their strength to regain their positions as No. 1 and No. 2.

Before the last shot, there was a 1.9-point gap between the two.

The South Korean shooter seemed to be out of gear in the last shot. His score, an 8.2, incurred regretful hiss.

Tan, the 2002 and 2006 world champion, had his chance. If he could score a 10.2, he would be the champion.

The 37-year-old raised his gun. Spectators held their breath.

He fired. A 9.2.

With the score, he not only lost the chance to crown, but also surrendered his second place to Kim.

However, this was still the first Olympic medal for the veteran shooter.

"I am quite happy to get my first Olympic medal finally," Tan said. "I have tried my best."

Then he added emotionally:"I've trained for 23 years, 16 of which I spent on the national team. This time I felt myself closest to the gold."

"It's a little embarrassing and harsh that I only got a bronze," he continued. "But if this Olympics is my last, this medal could wrap up my shooting career. I am satisfied with myself. I have no regrets."

Jin said he was happy to get this gold medal, especially with his old rival Kim in the competition.

"He is a good shooter, but I am luckier," he said.

Only Kim appeared unhappy about the result.

"I made every effort to get the gold, but it was a silver. I will continue to compete with everybody to get the gold, and keep doing my best," he said.

At the men's double trap event in the afternoon, American shooter Walton Eller broke the Olympic record with 190 hits, one hit more than the old one. China's 31-year-old two-time Olympian Hu Binyuan, who finished fourth in Athens, nailed down a hard-won bronze with 184 hits.

Eller, born in 1982, finished his qualification round with a new Olympic record of 145 hits, whereas Hu ranked fourth with 138 hits.

At the beginning of the final, Eller missed both targets, while Hu pulled up his socks to down all the orange plates and, after the ninth pair, he surged to be co-second with Italian Francesco D Aniello.

But Eller, who soon retrieved his sharpness, still took a distant lead then.

Hu's first mistake came at the 12th pair, when he saw the second bird churned away. But Eller also made two lapses.

After the 14th pair, Eller, D Aniello and Hu ranked the top three with gaps of three and one hit respectively.

Although the Chinese shooter, with two World Cup Final silvers and two World Championships silvers, missed three other targets in the following pairs, this ranking remained unchanged till the end of the competition.

Coming from Shanghai, Hu said he was generally satisfied with his performance. "I am happy to realize my Olympic medal dream in my own country."

Each time he made a good shot, the home crowd cheered and applauded behind him.

"They encouraged me a lot," said Hu.

Asked why he wore the same suit as he did in Athens, where he ended up at the fourth position, to the press conference, Hu said:"It could remind me of the competition four years ago and spur me to work hard."

For Eller, the gold medal marks a great breakthrough.

He traveled to the Sydney 2000 Games as the youngest member of the U.S. shooting team. However, his dream was shattered by a food poisoning that kept him in bed for two days. Although he had recovered in time to compete, he failed to get any medal.

In 2004, when the Business major from the University of Houston, loaded with hope, embarked on his second Olympic journey, he only finished 17th in double trap.

"Now that I came, I won, my task was fulfilled," he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 11 3 4 18
2 USA 7 6 8 21
3 South Korea 5 5 0 10
4 Italy 3 4 2 9
5 Australia 3 1 3 7
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