Chinese shooter Lin Zhongzai won the gold medal in the men's 50-meter pistol with 667.2 points despite a not-so-perfect ending at the Good Luck Beijing ISSF World Cup on Tuesday.
Hot-pursuing Kazakhstan marksman Rashid Yunusmetov snatched the silver with 666.0 points, a distant victory from American Daryl Szarenski who clinched the bronze with 663.4 points.
Topped in the qualification round with 571 points, the 27-year-old Lin, who was champion in this discipline at the 2007 World Cup Final held in Bangkok, showed his capacity during the final and pulled away from the second after the next-to-last shot in the ten-shot final with four points.
Although he finished the competition with a 7.7 point that incurred hiss from spectators, and Yunusmetov, 29, runner-up in Doha Asian Games, who started with 565 points gained in the qualification round that landed him the fourth, scored a 10.5 point, Lin's leading position was inshakable.
"I failed to play at my normal level in the last shot, because I shot too fast and felt so nervous, when all kinds of thoughts flooded into my mind," said the bashful boy.
"Before Olympics I still have two competitions in Germany and Italy. I need to calm down and practice more in order to gain a better score," he added.
His idol was Xu Haifeng, who brought China the first ever Olympic gold medal in this very discipline in 1984. Since then, no gold was earned by the Chinese shooting squad in men's 50-meter pistol during the Olympics.
"This August I will try my best at the Olympic Games," Lin pledged.
Gaining a highest final round score of 101.0, the Kazakhstan shooter was still dissatisfied with just a silver. "I can do much better during trainings," he said.
Talking about the qualification round, Yunusmetov said he didn't do well, neither was the first shot in the final. "Yet I was not affected by it later on," he said.
American shooter, 40-year-old Szarenski, dropped behind after the fourth shot of a 7.5 but managed to stabilize his performance later.
"I made two bad shots in the final, which are like waves on the sea," shrugged the man whose hobbies are sailing and gardening.
Two other Chinese shooters, Tan Zongliang who is to participate in competition of this discipline with Lin at the Olympic Games and Xu Kun, gold medalist at the Doha Asian Games, harvested 560 and 551 points in the qualification round and ranked 16 and 39 respectively, hence had no chance to appear in the final.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2008)