Lalita Yauheluskaya yesterday shot her way to within three points of making the Olympic women’s 25m pistol finals, which turned on a nail-biting battle for gold.
The Australian shooter showed a marked improvement, qualifying 17th with a score of 580 after finishing down the order in the air pistol event earlier in the week, but the day’s glory went to Korean teenager Kim Jangmi, who took the gold.
While Yauhleuskaya called on the experience of four previous Olympic performances, team mate Hayley Chapman managed to find her own reserves of courage in her very first Olympic appearance.
She used it to recover from being in last place after the precision shooting part of the competition, regaining her composure to climb five places and finish 34th.
Chapman shot a low 278 in the precision shoot but, after consulting with her father and fellow Olympic shooter David, she managed a much more impressive 290 in the rapid-fire shooting, for a total of 568.
“I loved every minute of it,” she said, adding she had learned a lot and knew what to work on between now and a potential 2016 Olympic berth.
For the medal winners, the competition was intense, the lead changing several times after Kim squandered the six-point lead see carried into the final.
China’s Chen Ying, who won gold in 2008, starred in the final and at one point overtook Kim.
“For the first time in 15 shots, when I came down to second and Chen went up to first, I thought, ‘I really don't want silver, I want gold’,” Kim said. “It's not a very nice thing to say but I just desperately wanted the gold.”
She steered that desperation into success, scoring 51.8 with her last five shots, including one perfect 10.9 bullseye.
Kim won with 792.4 points to Chen’s 791.4, while Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych added another bronze to the one she won earlier in the 10m air pistol.