Finals 50m Pistol Men

50m Pistol – World’s #1 Matsuda defeat Serbia’s Zlatic at 9th shot

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Munich, GER

The Japanese sharpshooter showed-off his steady nerves by winning the Gold medal duel against Serbia’s Zlatic on the last two final shots. Italy’s Giuseppe Giordano won the Bronze, securing an Olympic Quota.

Today’s 50m Pistol Men match at the 2011 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Munich turned into a breathtaking duel between two expert shooters, who duelled right to the last shot to secure the brightest medal: Serbia’s Zlatic and Japan’s Matsuda.


It was the 35-year old Japanese shooter Tomoyuki Matsuda who entered the match in first place with a qualification score of 568 points, tied to Andrija Zlatic.


Matsuda led thought the first part of the match, battling neck and neck against his Serbian opponent, and eventually taking advantage of his mistakes. Marking 97.7 point throughout the ten-shot final, the Japanese sharpshooter finished on the highest step of the podium with a total of 665.7 points.


“It hasn’t been easy, but I am happy that I made it. I would like to dedicate this medal to my coach, who has helped me to get here.” Matsuda said right after the last shot.


Considered the world’s best Air Pistol Shooter (he’s the reigning world champion, the current world rank leader and the sport press’ “2010 Shooter of the Year”), Matsuda had finished in the spotlight at the first World Cup Stage of the year, in Sydney. There, he won two Gold medals dedicating the victories to his wounded homeland, hit by a terrible Tsunami just few days before.


“Japan is suffering, and the only thing I can do to help is to try my best in what I am doing. – Matsuda said today – I hope that my medals will help my people to react, sport can help.”


Serbia’s Andrija Zlatic, 33, ranked fourth in the world and coming from a Bronze medal won at the previous ISSF World Cup Stage in Fort Benning, , had walked into the final with 568 qualification points.


Fighting for Gold against Matsuda, the Serbian shooter jeopardized his chances of victory on the ninth competition shot, when he scored a frustrating 8.1-point shot, which pulled him down in second place, more than one point behind the Japanese finalist. With only one final shot left to be fired, the Serbian shooter had no time to recover. Frustrated by the outcome of the match, he closed the round with an 8.9 shot, snatching the Silver medal with a total of 662.9 points.


Behind him, Italy’s Giuseppe Giordano, 36, secured the Bronze medal and an Olympic Quota place with a total score of 659.6 points. The Italian shooter, who had qualified with 562 points in sixth place, climbed up the scoreboard with an excellent final of 97.6 points, ending up in third place with a total of 659.6 points.


The Italian shooter had been close to securing an Olympic Quota Place during the previous World Cup Stage in Fort Benning, when he had eventually placed in seventh, just a few points far from the Olympic qualification. But today’s great match finally gave Giordano the price he was looking for since year: a spot at the next Games.


The Chinese veteran Tan Zongliang, 39, had qualified to participate in this final in third place after scoring 565 points during the qualifications. Starting three points behind Matsuda and Zlatic, he shot four times in the eighth ring, eventually landing in fourth place with a total score of 659.0 points. Tan, a 2008 Olympic Silver medallist, and a two-time world champion in 2002 and 2006, had won his last ISSF World Cup medal here in Munich, in 2006.


Just one tenth of a point behind him, with a final score of 658.9 points, it was Spain’s 24-year old Pablo Carrera who took the fifth place. The up-and-coming shooter who had only participated once in an ISSF World Cup final round back in 2009, qualified with 563 points, and marked 95.9 points during the final.


Winning a shoot-off to get into the final with 561 points, Slovakia’s Pavol Kopp squeezed into the final match in eighth and last place, climbing then the scoreboard right up to the sixth place with a final score of 657.7 points.

The 30-year old shooter, was followed by the second Chinese shooter, Zhang Tian, 30, who placed in seventh with 654.8 points.

The numerous spectators following the match here at Munich’s final hall cheered up for the local hero, Germany’s 25-year old Florian Schmidt.

Schmidt, qualified with 562 points in fifth place, did not shot at his best during the final match. With four 7s he slid down in the placements, closing the match in eighth with 648.0 points.

The second Olympic Quota to be awarded today went to Belarus’ Andrei Kazak, closing the match in ninth place with 561 points.

Marco Dalla Dea