Finals 10m Air Rifle Men

Not like the first Yang

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Munich, GER

Two years ago in Munich, Yang Haoran had won a gold medal. This time he only came away with a fifth place, but he's gone a long way since 2013.

It wasn't like the first time.

China's Yang Haoran, 19 and the world's best air rifle shooter, only came in fifth. Two years ago--Yang's first time in Munich--he had won gold.

The 2013 World Cup in Munich was a milestone in Yang's career. It marked the time when Yang stopped being a promising athlete and started becoming a global champion.

Before that gold in Munich, Yang had won only so much--a World Cup a few weeks earlier, and an Asian Shooting Championship the year before.

After Munich, Yang won just about everything--Asian Shooting Championship (Tehran 2013) and Asian Games (Incheon 2014); ISSF World Cup (Munich 2014), World Cup Final (Munich 2013), and World Championship (Granada 2014); Youth Olympic Games (Nanjing 2014).

He's not even 20, but Yang is already mature and can easily deal with the occasional slip.

"It could have been better," Yang says. "But I'm happy."

Toothache was a cause of stress during the competition for Yang.

"Physically, I wasn't feeling exactly at my best," Yang says. "But I'm still glad about my results."

This was the only event for Yang in Munich, but, as he puts it: "There will be other competitions."

Getting back on the podium will require work.

"I will definitely have to focus more and to train more to get better results," Yang says.

After winning last year's Youth Olympics in Nanjing ("a good experience in a nice atmosphere"), there's only one thing Yang is missing--the Olympics.

Asked about the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Yang downplays his hopes.

"I don't have great expectations [for Rio]," Yang says expertly. "I'm just glad to take part in it, and I hope I can get good results. I'm trying to take it easy."

It's true--Munich this year wasn't like Munich two years ago. This time, Yang was an adult.

UPDATE (June 9th, 2015. 10:19 am - A previous version of this article said that Yang faced blood pressure problems during the competition. In fact, it was not blood pressure but toothache that Yang faced.)

Alessandro Ceschi


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