South Korean teen grabs rare Olympics women’s shooting gold
LONDON—Crack shot Kim Jang-Mi won South Korea’s first women’s shooting gold for 20 years in the 25m pistol on Wednesday as the Asian nation drew level with China and the United States on two golds each.
Kim came close to blowing a gaping lead as inspired defending champion Chen Ying edged ahead with just one series of shots to go but she held her nerve, with Chen taking silver and Olena Kostevych of Ukraine winning bronze.
The 19-year-old, only the second South Korean woman to win a gold medal in shooting after Yeo Kab-Soon, who won the women’s 10m air rifle at Barcelona in 1992, said knowing she was so close to losing out on gold inspired one final effort.
“Actually for the moment I thought that I’d lost gold and then I thought that if I go to bed tonight with a silver medal then I would feel really bad and I thought that I would just concentrate more,” said Kim.
Kim said before she came to London she wanted to show that South Korea’s women’s shooters were just as competitive as the men.
The South Korean, who set the world record in London in April, enjoyed a healthy lead coming into the final after topping qualifying with an Olympic record of 591 points, five clear of Thailand’s Tanyaporn Prucksakorn.
Chen, who started the final six points adrift of Kim, put the South Korean under huge pressure, outpointing her in the first three series of five shots to lead by 0.8 points going into the fourth and final series.
But Kim found her form to claw back the deficit and secured gold with a total score of 792.4, 1.0 ahead of Chen.
“During the process I didn’t really know the changes in ranking and I was just following my coach’s instructions, trying to concentrate on what I was doing,” said Chen.
Bronze for Kostevych was her second medal of the London Games after she took bronze in the women’s 10m air pistol.
The qualification round for 25m women’s pistol consists of a combination of 30 precision shots and 30 rapid fire shots.
The highest scoring ring is 50mm in the precision stage. In the rapid fire stage, the highest scoring ring is 100mm.
In the final the eight best shooters from qualifying fire four series of five shots as for the rapid fire stage. A total of 10.9 is the highest score possible for a single shot.
Gold for Kim comes after sharpshooter Jin Jong-Oh won the men’s 10m air pistol gold. Out of seven golds so far, South Korea, China and the United States have two each, and Romania have one.
China finished top of the shooting medals table in Beijing with five golds.