First gold medal goes to China in shooting
LONDON, United Kingdom - Shooting powerhouse China launched their Olympic campaign in style Saturday by taking the first gold of the London Games while South Korea's Jin Jong-Oh survived a late attack of nerves to win.
World number one Yi Siling edged the women's 10m air rifle competition at London's Royal Artillery Barracks in a tense morning contest witnessed by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
With Pang Wei due to defend his title in the men's 10m air pistol in the afternoon match, and the fancied Tan Zongliang also in the frame, China looked set to make a serious statement of intent on day one in London.
But sharpshooter Jin, winning his second Olympic gold medal and his fourth overall, entered the final with a sizeable lead and negotiated an untimely wobble to lift the title and turn 2008 Olympic silver in the event to gold.
Yi, 23, who won the women's 10m air rifle competition at the 2010 world championships, had a total winning score of 502.9, 0.7 points ahead of Poland's Sylwia Bogacka. Yu Dan of China clinched bronze.
Yi held her nerve in a nail-biting final, taking advantage of some slips from Bogacka.
Defending Olympic champion Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic finished fourth.
A delighted Yi said it felt good to be the first gold medal winner of the 2012 Games.
"It's very exciting. Very happy. I'm very grateful to China. And to my mother and father who I love very much," she said.
"I am pleased, not nervous like I was in the competition. I have been up since five this morning. There was a lot of pressure on me," she added.
China were top performers in Beijing in 2008 with five shooting golds but South Korea's Jin said he gained extra motivation by seeking to make sure he would not finish second again.
The 32-year-old entered the final two points clear of Pang and stretched his lead still further but a nasty run of scores of 9.3, 9.0, 9.4 and 9.7 gave his closest competitors renewed hope. The maximum score is 10.9.
Italy's Luca Tesconi roared back into contention as Pang faded but was unable to close the gap and ended up 2.4 points behind the champion, who finished on 688.2 points. Serbia's Andrija Zlatic took bronze.
"I concentrated more because the Chinese athlete (Pang) won the gold medal last time and I promised myself not to let it happen this time," said Jin.
"I was so nervous about this event. I think I did my best because I overcame the anxiousness but I'm trying to get better for the coming event," added the relieved Korean, who will also be taking part in the 50m pistol.
Jin won silver in the 10m air pistol in 2008 and gold in the 50m pistol in Beijing. He also grabbed silver in the 50m pistol in Athens in 2004.
In both of Saturday's shooting events the top eight competitors from the qualification round reached the final, shooting a further 10 shots -- each fired individually under timed conditions.
The score in the final was added to the score achieved in the qualification round to determine the winner. - Agence France-Presse