Finals Matches 10m Air Rifle Mixed International Teams

Hungary and Egypt take first-ever Air Rifle mixed, last event of Nanjing

2nd Youth Olympic Games · Nanjing, CHN

Egyptian and Hungarian duo triumphs as the new event debuts at the end of the Youth Olympics

Hungary's Istvan Peni, 17, and Egypt's Hadir Mekhimar, 16, took over the Air Rifle mixed final at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics with a stunning score of 10-2 (see full results). This was a new event which took place today for the first time, closing the shooting program of the competition. Peni and Mekhimar beat the Latin American team made up of Argentina's Fernanda Russo, 15, and Mexico's Jose Santos Valdes Martinez, 17. The same format, but for pistol, had made its debut yesterday.


Peni and Mekhimar started off the final on the right foot as they took the first three rounds. Russo and Valdes eventually seemed to be back in the game as they took the next two rounds and reached a score of 3-2, but their opponents were outstanding ever since and scored six points in a row, till the gold. Peni had already won a medal earlier in the competition, at the individual rifle event.


In the third-place playoff, Chinese Taipei's Shao-Chuan Lu and Ukraine's Viktoriya Sukhorukova secured the bronze as they had the best of San Marino's Agata Riccardi and Serbia's Andrija Milovanovic by 10-6.


“We feel fantastic,” gold medallist Peni said. “It was much different, [since] we had not a normal relay [each shooter had just one shot, instead of two, per round], but everything was fine and I think we were the best. We said to each other that it would be fine and to just relax. She [Mekhimar] was really really good, and I thank her. This kind of competition is really cool. It's much harder because we have only one shot and we are shooting against a team and not against everyone. [But] It's fine because we can help each other.”


“I'm very happy,” Peni's teammate Mekhimar said. “He [Peni] is a very good shooter.”


Silver medallists Russo and Valdes, respectively from Argentina and Mexico, both speak Spanish. That, combined with knowing each other before the competition, helped them throughout the game. “It was an advantage, because we could communicate,” said Russo. “He [Valdes] is a very good friend and a very good team partner.” The two have met last April and have stayed in touch via Facebook since then. Finding out about being teammates “was a surprise,” Russo said. She finally expressed her hope that they would meet again in the future.


“You are my friend,” Valdes Martinez said to teammate Russo. “I will be with you in bad times and good. We will be together and we will achieve more things together.” Martinez thanked him for today's collaboration.


The bronze medallist, Sukhorukova, described her success as "the best emotion of my life."


Sukhorukova appreciated the new format, which makes you meet and team up with other athletes, even though having one's back might be more challenging. “Everybody is very friendly,” she said. “This competition helps to understand [each other]. Psychologically it's more difficult, because you don't just shoot for yourself but also for someone else.”

Referring to her fellow countryman Pavlo Korostylov, also a medallist in Nanjing, Sukhorukova finally said that “he is the best pistol shooter.”

Alessandro Ceschi