Du Li wins women's rifle 3 positions gold medal

created: 2008-08-14

Chinese shooter Du Li staged a comeback after a failure on Saturday to smash the Olympic record in the women's 50-meter rifle three positions at the Beijing Shooting Range on Thursday.

Her total score, 690.3 points or 1.9 points higher than the previous one held by Russian shooter Lioubov Galkina, ensured her a hard-won Olympic gold medal in her own country.

Katerina Emmons from the Czech Republic nailed down the silver with 687.7 points after a hot pursuit. Cuban shooter Eglis Yaima Cruz won the bronze with a slim disadvantage of 0.1 point.

Du, 26 years' old from the eastern Shandong province, advanced to the final with an Olympic record-equalling 589 points, one point higher than Cruz, while Emmons was ranked sixth with 586 points.

Competition in the final was so fierce that each shot changed position of the shooters.

In the first shot, the Chinese who made a late firing scored only 8.7 points, losing the starting advantage and slipped to the third. The leading position was taken by her 28-year-old Cuban rival who collected a 10.3.

In the second shot, Du seemed to regain her sharpness a bit amid cries of "Du, come on" from spectators, and climbed to the second with a 10.3.

The third shot saw her further mustering up her strength to make a 10.4. She then shared the No. 1 position with surging Olga Dovgun from Kazakhstan.

Cruz plunged to the third with a 9.3, 0.7 point behind the leading pair.

Olympic 10-meter air rifle champion Emmons, with the staggering 10.7, 10.1 and 10.7, mounted to the fourth, 0.2 points behind Cruz and 0.9 behind Du.

However, Du didn't seem to hold her nerves in the following two shots, collecting a 9.8 and a 9.9. With the scores she dropped to the second and was 0.1 point behind Cruz, but 0.3 points before the fourth-placer Emmons who made a 9.7 in her fifth shot.

Burying her head in the right arm for quite a while after each shot, Du managed to delight spectators with a 10.8 point in the six shot, and hence secured her leading position in the following shots.

Emmons, who rose to the second after the sixth shot, also kept her sharpness to the end, while Cruz was out of gear in the last shot, a 9.5, finishing her performance as the third.

Dovgun, who was seventh in the event at the Sydney Olympic and fourth in Athens, swooped to the sixth this time.

Another Chinese shooter Wu Liuxi finished the eighth.