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China pockets three medals out of two events in Gabala on day 1

June 09, 2017 10:15 AM

Punjab News Express/Balbir Singh
GABALA (AZE) : A tie-breaking shoot off for the Gold medal. That’s how the ISSF World Cup Stage 5 in Gabala (AZE) started, as Serbia’s 32-year-old Milutin Stefanovic and People’s Republic of China’s first-time finalist Yao Yuncong battled for the higher step of the 10m Air Rifle Men podium.
Firing repeatedly inside the 10th ring, the two shooters distanced themselves from the other finalists midway through the final, trading the top and the second position multiple times along the match.
Towards the end of it, a 9.9 fired by Stefanovic against Yao’s 10.7 seemed to deliver the Gold to the Chinese 21-year-old. However, in the following 24th and last shot the Serbian closed the gap and matched Yao’s score. In the decisive shoot-off, then Yao fired his second overall shot in the 9th ring, while Stefanovic grabbed the Gold medal with a good-enough 10.0.
The 250.9 they both nailed after 24 shots also allowed them to equal the World Record scored by Russian Federation’s Sergey Kamenskiy (29) less than a month ago in Munich (GER).
Hungarian talent Istvan Peni (20) completed the podium, pocketing the Bronze medal with 229.4 points after entering the final with the best qualification score, 629.0 points. It is the third World Cup Bronze medal for Peni, who also placed third in this event at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing (CHN).
Just outside of the medal position placed France’s 22-year-old Alexis Raynaud, who went through some technical problems during the match and eventually landed in 4th place 207.8 points.
Two first-time finalists of the Russian Federation followed Raynaud in 5th and 6th place: Alexander Dryagin (26), ranked 161th in the world prior to this competition, scored 185.3 points and finished 5th, while 23-year-old Evgeny Panchenko placed 6th with 164.7.
The first shooter to be eliminated was first-time finalist in this event Napis Tortunpanich (22) of Thailand, who left the match after shot number 12, placing 8th with 121.8 points. Two shots later he was followed by 35-year-old Omer Akgun, who finished in 7th place with 143.6 after losing a tie-breaking shoot-off against Panchenko.
A Chinese double closed day 1 of the ISSF World Cup Stage 5 in Gabala (AZE), where 20-year-old Peng Xinyi secured the Gold medal in her first senior competition ever.
To reach the top of the women’s 10m Air Rifle podium, Peng had to battle with her talented teammate Shi Mengyao (19), Gold medalist at this year’s World Cup stage in New Delhi (IND), World Ranking number 5 in this event and also holder of the current World Record.
On her 24th and final shot, Shi fired a 10.4 that matched Peng’s final score of 248.1, after she stayed on top of the table for the whole match.
In the ensuing tie-breaking shoot-off Peng shot first, nailing a 9.9 that Shi couldn’t be able to best and sealing two more medals for the Chinese National Team after the Silver pocketed by Yao Yuncong in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event.
he third step of the podium was taken by Singaporean 26-year-old Jasmine Ser Xiang Wei, the 2015 Asian Champion, who pocketed her second World Cup medal this season after the Silver she won in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions event in New Delhi.
In a tie-breaking shoot-off for the 4th place, Ser beat India’s first-time finalist Meghana Sajjanar (23), who concluded in 4th place with 205.7 points and nailed the best placement of her debuting season.
Another former Asian Champion followed in 5th place, as Sajjanar’s teammate Pooja Ghatkar scored 183.8 points and failed to best the 3rd place she claimed in New Delhi last February.
She was followed by 27-year-old Jung Eunhea of the Republic of Korea, whose last World Cup appearance in this event dates back to Fort Benning (USA) in 2010. Participating in her first career final match, Jung marked a score of 164.3 points and took 6th place.
30-year-old Franziska Peer of Austria qualified for the women’s 10m Air Rifle final for the second consecutive time, after placing 6th in Munich a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to best her previous placement, as she finished in 7th position with 141.7 points.
Liu Ruxuan, the third Chinese finalist in this event, left the match after shot number 12, placing 8th with 121.0 points in her first international appearance.
The ISSF World Cup Stage 5 in Gabala will continue tomorrow with two more finals: the 50m Pistol Men, scheduled at 11:00 am (UTC+4:00), and the 25m Pistol Women, scheduled at1:00 pm.
Both finals will be streamed live on the ISSF official Facebook page, on issf-sports.org and on its Livestream channel.

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