Final 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men

Li’s last-gasp perfection earns win over Bessaguet in second 25m rapid fire pistol final at Baku World Cup

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol / Shotgun · Baku, AZE

A perfect final sequence earned China’s world champion and record holder Li Yuehong a dramatic 25m rapid fire pistol victory over France’s Clement Bessaguet at the Baku World Cup.

Li and Bessaguet contested gold throughout the elimination stages and stepped up for the final scheduled series locked at 29-29 in what was the second final in this event to have been staged in the Azerbaijan capital.

Li, 34, who had finished fifth in the first of the finals, shot first - and recorded five hits out of five. The pressure on the ISSF male Athlete of the Year, who had taken bronze three days earlier, was immense.

And it told, as he managed only two out of five, leaving his Chinese opponent, who had topped qualifying, a 34-31 winner on the final day of competition at the Olympic Shooting Range, where he set his world record of 39 in winning world gold last year.

“I like this country, this city – I think it is a lucky range,” Li told ISSF TV in fluent English. “Everything is perfect here.

“After the first final here I needed to change a few things, and this performance was pretty good.”

Asked about the Olympics on the horizon, having earned individual 25m rapid fire pistol bronze at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Games, Li replied:

“The Olympic Games is very important. Everyone wants to do their best there. It is the big meeting. I just want to try and do my best and to enjoy the competition.”

Bessaguet had recorded a perfect five on his second series. That kept him level on 17-17 with his Chinese rival, and their scores moved to 21-21 before another perfect five gave Li a 26-25 lead.

The Frenchman showed his combative qualities as he scored four in the penultimate series to draw level again – but he could not find a second perfect sequence when he needed it to force a shoot-off.

In a contest packed with world-class talent, bronze went to the Republic of Korea’s Song Jong-Ho, gold medallist at January’s Cairo World Cup.

Bessaguet’s compatriot Jean Quiquampoix, the Rio 2016 silver medallist and Tokyo 2020 gold medallist, missed the podium by one place.

Matej Rampula of the Czech Republic was seventh, one ahead of Florian Peter of Germany, the 2023 World Cup Final champion.

A second set of finals in the 25m pistol women, 25m rapid fire men and 50m rifle 3 positions for men and women were scheduled for Baku in order to ensure athletes in all events had an equal number of opportunities to gain Olympic Qualifying ranking points.

The earlier World Cup in Granada only included events over 10m.



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