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Gold and ticket, a big day for Chinese shooting corps
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After several cloudy days, long-awaited sunshine in the gulf city of Kuwait finally brought the Chinese shooting squad a long-awaited ticket to the men's double trap at the 2008 Olympic Games.

China's Pan Qiang (R) and Wang Nan prepare to compete during the men's double trap at the Asian Championships, December 9, 2007.

"Finally we got this quota place, which has been almost in our reach for several times," said Sun Shengwei, a coach in the Chinese national shooting team.

In the just-finished men's double trap competition, Pan Qiang snatched the gold medal with his perfect performance that aroused hurrahs from the audiences.

The 22-year-old Pan, who chalked up the same score as his teammate Wang Zheng with 142 hits in the qualification round, was one hit behind Alshamsy Saif Alshamsy from the United Arab Emirates.

In the first pair of the final, Alshamsy missed one, backing to the same starting line with the Chinese duo.

After Wang Zheng's lapse, another miss of the Arabic marksman in the ninth pair gave the Pan a chance, but the boy lost soon in the next pair.

In the 16th pair, Alshamsy missed one again. Pan led among the six finalists.

Alshamsy's fourth miss occurred in the 23rd pair.

While Pan raised his gun for the 24th shot, he was cautioned by the judge to mind the limiting line. Stepping back a bit, he fired, but hit only one bird.

Fortunately, a good ending with both hits of the last pair secured him the crown.

"After I finished the competition, I looked back, seeing my coach smiling. I knew that I got another quota place for China in this event," said the champion.

Pan noted that he has great pressure competing in the shooting range, especially in the next-to-last pair, when his pace was disrupted by the accident.

"When I aimed for the last pair, my hands were shaking," he said. "I know that I am going to win, if I could down them both."

Zhang Huiqun, a coach with the national team who had been pacing anxiously outside the shooting range, dashed towards the boy after the final, taking his gun and giving him a big hug.

The waiting Sun rose up from his chair, letting out a sigh and patted Pan's sun-tanned face gently as praise. The first quota place was acquired by Chinese shooter Hu Binyuan in the World Cup Surl Fort.

"To win or to lose, this is our last chance (to get the other)," Sun said.

In the men's 25-meter rapid fire pistol event, world champion Zhang Penghui surged from the third place to nail down an "unexpected" gold medal with 779.4 points.

The 30-year-old shooter didn't do well in the first part of qualification round. Due to the influence of strong wind, he scored only 286 points.

Although he managed to edge into the final, Zhang's qualification score, 579, was two points behind Malaysian marksman Hasli lzwan Amir Hasan and four points behind his teammate Liu Zhongsheng.

In the four-set final, the champion of 2006 World Shooting Championships achieved a 50.4 in the first set. Despite a 47.5 point in the second set, he impressed audiences with the following two scores reported as 51.2 and 51.3, highest among all finalists.

Out of his expectation, Amir Hasan failed to keep his momentum in the final and collected only 195.6 points to bring back a silver.

Liu was worse, chalking up a startling 189.8 to surrender his medal to South Korean Cha Sangjun, who got the bronze with 773.0 points.

Sunday saw eight gold medals distributed at the 11th Asian Shooting Championships, among which Chinese shooters seized seven. Men's 50-meter rifle prone event shall take place on Monday, when the Chinese corps is to vie for two quota places.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2007)

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