10m Air Pistol Women Youth

Last-minute 10.7 gives Nowak first gold of Nanjing

2nd Youth Olympic Games · Nanjing, CHN

Stunning comeback by 18-year-old of Poland, overcomes 3-point lead of Russia's Lomova at last shot

Russia's Margarita Lomova, 18, looked well on her way to the gold, as she was in first place with a 3.0-point lead after nineteen shots at Women's 10m Air Pistol, the first shooting event of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. But tables turned at the last shot, as her peer Agata Nowak of Poland hit a game-changing 10.7, taking advantage of Lomova's poor 7.7 and coming out on top in the duel.

Nowak has closed with a score of 196.9. She has been shooting since she was fourteen, four years ago. She's making progress faster than expected, according to the one person who gets to have a say about this. “My coach says that it isn't so long for that score,” she explained after the medal ceremony.

Silver medallist Magarita Lomova (194.4), no matter the missed chance, was glad about her performance. “[It is] very important to me,” she said. Her hard work payed off. “Every day [I'm] training. All the time.”

The race between Nowak and Lomova took shape as Kim Minjung of the Republic of Korea left the match. Kim's eighteenth and last shot was a 9.1, which gave her the bronze medal with 175.4 points. Kim, 17, had been competing neck and neck with Lomova for the first positions throughout the first rounds; in the second series, she had even hit a 10.9 which had temporary given her the lead.


Right before the podium places, came Greece's Anna Korakaki, 18 (156.5). She was followed by Afaf Elhodhod; the 17-year-old of Egypt was hoping for much better, as she was occupying medal positions at the beginning; she was in first after thirteen shots, but then spoiled her previous good results with a 7.7. Singapore's Teh Xiu Yi, 18, was seventh (96.2), whereas Polina Konarieva of Ukraine, 16, took last place (77.1).



Gold medallist Nowak had to stay focused despite the loud crowd of the Fangshan Shooting Hall. “When someone screams and claps his hands you're more scared,” she said. “I was stressed. Noise is more interesting for the public, but not for a shooter. You must learn how to shoot [in this situation.]”

How Nowak managed to keep calm, she doesn't even know. “I have no idea!” she said. “It just happened. I don't have a strategy [to focus,] I just hope that everything goes well for me. If you are too stressed, it's really bad. [When] your heart [is] beating really fast and your hands are shaking, you must cool down and find the concentration.”


But when Nowak clears her mind, it all gets much better. Shooting can be quite exciting to her. “It's not like fast running,” she said, “[but you can feel the adrenaline] when there are only four shooters [in the competition] and you know that you must be in the top three to get the medal.”

The family of Nowak is quite dedicated to this sport. “My mother shoots rifle. My father, pistol,” she said. “[But] when I started shooting I didn't know that. I just wanted to shoot, and I went shooting.” Her parents were not Olympians, but she wishes to be the first member of the family to be one. “I would like to go to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016,” she said. “I hope that dream comes true.” It took her four years to get ready for the Youth Olympics; will two years do for Rio?

Alessandro Ceschi


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