Finals 50m Pistol Men

Mikec pockets 50m Pistol Gold and Rio 2016 Quota for Serbia on the lines of his “lucky range”

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Fort Benning, USA

The 31-year old shooter finally achieved the pass for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games he had been chasing since the 2014 ISSF World Championship, winning today's 50m Pistol Men final at the ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning, a range he calls his “lucky spot.”

Day-2 of the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning started off with the 50m Pistol Men final, where Serbia's Damir Mikec (31) finished in the spotlights ruling the medal match and securing a Rio 2016 Olympic quota place for his country.


The Serbian shooter scored 193.1 points, beating the reigning Olympic Champion Jin Jongoh of the Republic of Korea with a slight margin of 1.2 points.


“Fort Benning is my lucky spot. I claimed a quota place for my first Olympics – Beijing 2008 – here in USA. And here is where I met my wife. A lot of nice things happened to me in this place, so I arrived here with good feelings and that helps a lot.” Mikec said right after the final, celebrating with his wife Melissa, a rifle shooter representing El Salvador.


“The Olympic Quota was my aim. I went close to it in Changwon, at the first world cup stage of the season, but I did not make it thee..” The Serbian winner continued. “I was absolutely sure I could claim it here in Fort Benning. But now that it happened I am completely speechless.”


“The first final match of the season, in Changwon, helped me a lot to arrive here in USA well prepared. I was really nervous there, and I made mistakes. But I've learned the lesson. I started today's final with a lot of confidence and managed my feelings right to the last shot.”


Nevertheless, the pressure of an international match can be heavy, when you're going for an Olympic qualification slot competing against some of the best pistol shooters of the world.


“As we got closer to the end of the match, I looked at the results and I understood I had won a quota place” Mikec added. “That was the turning point of the final: with the quota in my pocket I relaxed, managed the pressure, and went for the Gold. And finally I made it!”

Today's is the second Gold medal, and the second Rio 2016 quota place, clinched by Serbia at this ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning. Yesterday, Mikec's teammate Milutin Stefanovic had indeed won the opening match, the 10m Air Rifle Men final, securing another pass to Brazil.


Two-time Olympic Champion Jin Jongoh, ranked first in the world in this event after winning last year's ISSF World Championship with a new world record, placed in second today, securing the Silver medal with 191.9 points.


Following him, today's Bronze medal went to Vietnam's 40-year old Hoang Xuan Vinh, who secured his second world cup medal back to back after finishing on the podium in Changwon, last month. The Vietnamese shooter scored 168.3 points, beating USA's James Henderson (47), who collected 145.6 points on his home turf, while competing for the first time in an ISSF world cup final round.


Followed by a number of friends and supporters here in Fort Benning, Henderson won the applauses of the crowd as he secured the second Rio 2016 Quota place to be awarded at today's final. Indeed, both Jin and Hoang had already won an Olympic qualification slot before.


Following the medallists and the quota place winners, Japan's 2010 world champion Tomoyuki Matsuda (39) took the fifth place with 130.4 points, preceding Russia's 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist Vladimir Isakov (45), sixth with 109.2 points, Spain's 28-year old Pablo Carrera, seventh with 89.6 points, and the second Russian finalist Vladimir Gontcharov (38), who placed in eighth as he was the first to be eliminated with 71.5 points.


RESULTS - 50m Pistol Men

1. MIKEC Damir

2. JIN Jongoh

3. HOANG Xuan Vinh


VIDEO - Finals 50m Pistol Men


Marco Dalla Dea


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