Finals 10m Air Pistol Women

Salukvadze flies to her 7th Olympics

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol / Shotgun · Sydney, AUS

She had won Bronze and hugged the Russian winner at the 2008 Olympic Games, while her country was on war against Russia. She’s now ready to go for her seventh Olympics with a different spirit, and a record to break in her sights.

She has been competing in sixth different Olympic editions and she’s ready to move forward, on the road leading to London 2012. Georgia’s most durable Olympic athlete, the Pistol shooter Nino Salukvadze, won today’s 10m Air Pistol Women event at the ISSF Combined World Cup in Sydney, Australia, securing an Olympic Quota Place. The quota goes to the country, but the three time Olympic medallist already knows she’s going to be part of the team flying to London.


“I am ready to go to London, to participate in my seventh Olympiad” Nino said wearing the Gold medal with a total score of 485.5 (385+485.5) points. “That’s going to be a sort of record. Nobody else made it in Georgia.”


Nino Salukvadze, 42, started her Olympic adventure back in 1988, when she debuted on the Games’ scene by winning a Gold and a Silver medal in Seoul. From there on, the shooter from Tbilisi participated in each and every Olympic edition, right up to the 2008 Games in Beijing. A memorable competition for Salukvaze and the Georgian team. Nino indeed won a Bronze medal, hugging the Russian winner and dedicating the medal to the people of Georgia, while her country was under strike of the Russian aviation.


Things are better now, the situation in my country is slowly developing for the better.”  Nino said. “I will go to the 2012 Games with a different spirit.”


Today’s Silver medal went to Finland’s Mira Suhonen, 25, ranked ninth in the world. She finished in second with a total score of 484.0 (386+98.0) points, securing her first World Cup Silver medal. She had already finished in the spotlight a few months ago, as she won an Olympic Quota Place for Finland at the 2010 ISSF World Championship in Munich.


Following her, Ukraine’s 2004 Olympic medallist Olena Kostevych secured the Bronze with 483.6 (386+97.6) points, pocketing an Olympic Quota to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games.


The third Quota went to Taipei’s Tien Chia Chen, 27, a true outsider ranked 73rd in the world. Tien closed the match in fourth place with a total score of 481.9 (386+95.9) points, 1.7 points behind the medallists. She had finished in the spotlights several times on a continental level, winning two South East Asian Championships in 2001 and in 2003, as well as an Asian Championship Bronze medal in 2009. But she had never qualified to represent her country at the Games, before.


The home champion, Australia’s Dina Aspandiyarova, ended up in fifth place with 480.8 (382+98.8) points finishing 1.1 point far from the Olympic qualification. The Australian shooter had squeezed into the final match by passing through a three-way shoot-off, a stressing situation, as she said. “It was only the second shoot-off of my life.”  The first time being a shoot-off to get into the world championship final, last August. “It’s a very pressurized situation. I managed to hold my nerves in the final, but overall I did not quite achieve my goals for the event!”


Aspandiyarova was followed by Serbia’s 21-year old shooter Bobana Velickovic, sixth with 479.7 points, by France’s Goberville (seventh with 479.7 points), and by China’s Sun Qi (eighth with 479.5 points.)


The 2011 ISSF Combined World Cup in Sydney will continue tomorrow with three medal matches. Rifle and Pistol shooters will be on the stage for the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men final, starting at 12.40, and the 10m Air Pistol Men final, kicking-off at 2.20 PM. Pressure will then be back on shotgun shooters, with the Trap Women final starting at 4.45 PM (all times GMT+11).




Marco Dalla Dea


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