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Feature: Legendary shooter Jacobsson on track to another medal haul
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17:01, September 08, 2008

Like Michael Phelps, the name Jonas Jacobsson itself means medal and record on Paralympic shooting ranges in Beijing.

Previously holding seven world records, the 43-year-old left-handed riflist just expanded his extraordinary Paralympic gold collection on Monday to 14 without so much suspension, bettering one of his own records and setting another.

Always smiling on the wheelchair, the handsome shooter scored 100 points in three of the six qualification series in men's 10-meter air rifle standing. He finished with a new world record of 596 points, which enabled him to top the finalists' list.

In the ten-shot final, the man, who was three shots ahead of the second-placer, appeared cautious and always being the next-to-last one to open fire. But his scores, all above 10 with six higher than or equalling 10.5 points, incurred cheers and thunderous applauses, especially the 10.9 in the seventh shot.

His winning seemed to be without doubts. But Jacobsson managed to bring an surprise to ebullient spectators by improving his own record of the discipline by 3.2 points to a stunning 700.5.

Coincidentally, his scores in both qualification and fianl were the same as those achieved by Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra, who won the 10-meter air rifle gold medal at the Beijing Olympics less than a month ago at the very same venue, the Beijing Shooting Range Hall.

After the competition, however, the champion appeared calm and cool-headed.

"The main thing was to continue the streak. I've now won eight Paralympics in a row. That was the main goal, and hopefully I can get another good result here," he said.


Disability since birth didn't influence much his normal life.

Growing up in a small village with a population of 2,000 and 3,000, Jonas said he played together with other children when he was young, and going to normal schools.

"I am the only child in wheelchair in the school, but I am the best in table tennis there," he said proudly.

The boy played football as well -- he was the goalkeeper.

Jacobsson started shooting for fun at the age of seven or eight, before he found himself talented in it.

"It was fun to see good scores," he beamed.

When he was 12, he began receiving training and took part in his first Paralympics at the age of 15.

At that time, his father was coach of the Sweden team who was in the post until 1985.

Nobody knew who the boy was. "They just thought that 'well, he is just there competing with us'," he shrugged.

But the debutant soon told his name to the whole world, after sweeping a gold and a silver.

Since then Jacobsson has competed in eight Paralympics, and he never went home empty-handed.

In Athens, the soft-spoken marksman further impressed people by grabbing all four gold medals he pursued, which made him an evergreen on the shooting range.


Jacobsson has a job in the Swedish Association of Sports for the Disabled. When he didn't need to train, he gave lectures.

Except for this, everything seemed undecided for the jocose man.

Although he loved shooting, the man said that he had thought of quitting twenty years ago.

"Maybe I will be a coach," he said.

The shooter still lives with his parents and two brothers.

When asked if he had thought of getting married, Jacobsson made a face. "I have a target back in Sweden," he confessed.

Talking about the Olympics, he didn't rule out the possibility taking part in the sports gala one day.

"I will see, but I need to finish this (the Beijing Paralympics) first," he said.

"Every competition is a new one," he add, "you have to focus. Everybody starts from zero, and you have to shoot your own shots."


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