Final 10m Air Rifle Men Junior

10m Air Rifle Men – China’s Gao claimed the Gold for his family

1st Youth Olympic Games · Singapore, SIN

In spite of a disappointing first shot, the 17-year old talent climbed back in the lead to win the first YOG shooting medal, and to dedicate it to his parents.

Gao Ting Jie of China won the first Youth Olympic Gold awarded to shooting, claiming the brightest medal at the 10m Air Rifle Junior Men event with a total score of 694.9 (594+100.9) points.

Qualified in the lead with 594 points, the 17-year old shooter lost ground with a frustrating first shot of 8.9 points, and had to fight right to the last shot to finish atop of the scoreboard and to win his first international Gold medal ever.

Shooting neck and neck with the Belarusian champion Illioa Charheika (who had qualified in second with 593 points), Gao found his winning ace on the last shot, as he fired an great 10.5 that lifted him up to the highest step of the podium.

“I cannot wait to celebrate this medal with my family. I don’t see them since five months, as I have been training and preparing for this match!” said the 17-year old Chinese shooter.

“I am really happy about today’s competition. I have to thank my coach, Wanfg Yifyu and his words of wisdom. I was so nervous, before the match, but he helped me to calm down and to focus on the target!” continued Gao

“I will try to qualify for the 2012 Games, now – added the young winner, who won an ISSF World Cup Silver medal in the open event in Belgrade this year – The first test? The next Asian Games. I will try to beat  my teammate Zhu Qinan (the 2004 Olympic Champion) to make it to the team!

Gao’s coach, the 1992 and 2004 Olympic Champion Wang Yifu, also remembered for winning a Silver medal in the 10m Air Pistol Men event at the 1996 Games in spite of fainting during the final round, hardly contained his joy.

“The Youth Olympic Games is an exciting formula. It’s a great chance for our young athletes, and a great show for the youth of the world. This is a great way to promote the sport!” Wang said.

“I am just sorry that they invented the Youth Olympic Games only now – continued a 49-year old smiling Wang YifuI would definitely win the Youth title, if the YOG were existing in my days!”

Today’s Silver medal went to Belarus’ Illia Charheika, 17-year old, the 2010 Junior European Champion. The young shooter, who had already met Gao during this year’s ISSF World Cup Stage in Belgrade, finishing then in 11th place, did not make it by 0.8 points, less then 8 millimetres on a 10m Air Rifle targtet.

Charheika ended up with a total score of 694.1 (593+101.1) points, after firing a disappointing last shot of 9.4 points.

“I am on the podium of the Youth Olympic Games! – exclaimed the shooter, wearing the Silver – I would never imagine it, when I started shooting at the age of 11 year!”

I am after an Olympic Qualification for London 2012, now!” continued Charheika “I will take part in next year’s ISSF World Cup series, trying to secure an Olympic Quota Place.”

Bronze went to one of the favourites, Ukraine’s Serhiy Kulish, the 17-year old athlete who had finished in the spotlights by claiming two Junior medals (a Silver and a Bronze) at the 2010 ISSF World Championship in Munich, last July. Kulish finished in third place with a total score of 692.8 (591+101.8) points, climbing on the third step of the podium 1.3 points far form the Silver medallist Charheika.

Korea’s Kin Yong fired today’s highest final score, 102.6 points, but that was not enough to grab a medal. The Korean shooter had started the match with a qualification score of 590 points, and his total score of 692.6 points placed him in fifth.

Following him, Germany’s Alexander Thomas closed in fifth place with 690.3 (588+102.3) points, while the Mexican finalist Erick Arzate Marchan ended up in sixth with (587+101.4) points.

The Italian finalist Simon Weithaler, who has started the match in fourth place and climbed in third place after the first final shot, suffered the pressure of the round, shooting more than once in the ninth ring, and eventually dropping down in seventh place. 

“Shooting is all about mind and mental concentration. I did not make it. But still I am satisfied about my overall result. To be in an Olympic final is a good starting point!” the Italian athlete said, looking at his final score: 687.8 (590+97.8) points.

India’s Navdeep Singh Rathore, who had squeezed into the final round with the lower qualification score of 587 points, closed the match in eighth and last place, with a total score of 685.5 points, after scoring 98.5 points throughout the final.

Check the complete results on the YOG website!

Marco Dalla Dea