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Jong-oh takes 10m air pistol crown

RAAJIV TRIPATHI

DOHA SOUTH KOREAN veteran Jin Jong-oh potted the 10m air pistol title for his second individual gold medal of the 12th Asian Shooting Championships on Sunday.

At the Losail Range, the 32-year-old topped both the qualifying and finals (587 & 102.6) to walk away with the crown. Earlier in the championship, he had won the 50m Pistol crown, in which he is also the reigning Olympic winner.

This is the first Asian-level meet in which Jong-Oh won the gold medal.

The feature of Jong-oh’s victory on Sunday was that he managed to beat world champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan, who finished third behind Chinese newcomer Wang Zhiwei.

Contests were held in two junior events – China’s Xu Chen led a clean-sweep of the 10m Air Pistol (men) and Navdeep Singh Rathore helped India get 1-3 in the 50m Rifle Prone. In the 50m Rifle, India had earlier lodged a protest as one Chinese shooter went away without getting his weapon checked by the technical committee. India was initially granted the team silver but later it was moved to its original bronze medal position after the complaint was dismissed.

Jong, who has already qualified for the London Olympics, has overall four medals, including one each team gold and silver medal, in this edition of the event.

Jong-oh was thrilled to have bagged the title. “I’m quite excited that I have won after a long time.” Two years before in the Asian Games and in the 2007 Asian championships in Kuwait, the reigning Olympics silver medallist had won the silver medals in the same events. Before Guangzhou, he only won the bronze medal in the 2002 Busan and 2006 Doha Asian Games.

Jong-oh, who had won the Shooter of the Year award in 2008, also said: “I am really happy to start the Olympic year with the gold medals,” added the Korean star.

His impressive tally of 102.6 in the finals read 10.7, 10.3, 10.6, 10.5, 9.1, 10.7, 10.2, 10.0, 10.5 and 10.0
Only once, he went below the 10-point mark. “I worked very hard to make this happen,” added Jong-Oh.

Now the gold medals in his two events are the ultimate dream. “I will have to battle hard to keep off the Chinese, who are very good shooters.

Jong-Oh is looking forward to clashing with 10m defending champion Pang Wei in London later this year. Pang Wei is the husband of Du Li, who is also an illustrious Chinese shooter with two Olympic golds to her credit.

“Pang is a tough shooter.

In Beijing, he had beaten me to the silver medal. I hope to have a good fight with him for the Olympic title this year,” added Jong-Oh.

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