Zhang gives China another women's air pistol gold
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) China's bid for shooting gold came up short on the opening day of the Rio Olympics and was not looking good on Sunday's day two after a two-time defending gold medalist failed to qualify.
Zhang Mengxue gladly picked up the slack, continuing China's dominance in women's 10-meter air pistol.
Zhang overcame some early jitters in the finals with some big scores on Sunday, earning China's fourth air pistol gold in the past five Games.
''I remember a coach told me once, the only person who could destroy me was myself,'' Zhang said through an interpreter. ''So I just did my utmost to be myself today.''
China has dominated the air rifle and pistol shooting events at the Olympics, earning nine gold medals since the 2000 Sydney Games.
The Chinese came up short of gold the first day in Rio, finishing with a silver and a pair of bronze medals.
China's bid for gold in women's air pistol seemed to take a big hit when Guo Wenjun, the two-time defending champion, struggled in qualifying and finished 30th.
Zhang qualified sixth for the eight-person elimination finals and opened with three straight 9s with a field that seemed to struggle with nerves early. She steadied herself with a 10.8 on her fifth shot and took the lead after eight shots.
Zhang stretched her lead as the competition continued and all but locked up gold with a perfect 10.9 in the penultimate round. She finished with 199.4 points in the 20-round final, putting her 2.3 ahead of Russia's Vitalina Batsarashkina.
''Before the last shot, I knew I was in an advantage, but I wanted to concentrate,'' Zhang said. ''So I did my utmost on the last shot.''
All three medals went to first-time Olympians after Anna Korakaki captured bronze to become the first Greek woman to earn an Olympic medal in shooting.
''I'm really excited that I'm the first woman through all these years to win an Olympic medal,'' said Korakaki, who had 177.7 points through 18 rounds.