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Russian veteran wins men's 25-meter rapid fire pistol
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Russian shooter Sergei Alifirenko added a gold for his country in the men's 25-meter rapid fire pistol with a far-ahead 786.7 points at the Good Luck Beijing ISSF World Cup on Saturday.

His teammate Alexei Klimov brought back the silver with 780.9 points, leaving the bronze to Chinese shooter Zhang Penghui who achieved 778.3 points.

Stretching his arms before shooting in the final, the 49-year-old Alifirenko took the distant lead among all finalists with 586 points, four points more than Zhang and famous German shooter Ralf Schumann, and five points ahead of Klimov.

As the Sydney Olympic champion and gold medalist of the 2005 World Cup Final, the Russian was reckoned the favorite to win with most stable performance, with the scores in each fire-shot series recorded as 49.0, 50.5, 51.0 and 50.2, which ensured him the highest final round score of 200.7 points.

In comparison, Klimov, 33, who held the current world qualification record of this discipline, had more fluctuation in his performance, starting with a 48.6 followed by 50.7 and 48.1.

However, a last 52.5 explained to spectators the meaning of "all's well that ends well".

Zhang Penghui, 30, the 2007 Asian Championships winner, had followed Alifirenko closely after the two series reported as 49.0 and 50.1. But a 47.1 in the third series, including two shots of nine-plus and two others below nine, plucked him behind.

Record of this discipline, 788.8 points, was established by German sharpshooter Ralf Schumann, who was dubbed the "shooting machine" and bagged three Olympic gold medals in the event.

Yet the final saw him starting with an astonishingly low score of 46.3 points in the first series. And the 46-year-old German failed to restore his momentum in the follow shots, settling to a fourth.

(Xinhua News Agency April 19, 2008)

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