Shooter Jin Jong-oh survived a mid-final wobble to claim victory in the men’s 10m air pistol on Saturday to give South Korea their first gold medal of the London Olympics.
Jin finished with a score of 688.2 after his 10 shots in the eight-man final with Italy’s Luca Tesconi winning silver with 685.8 and Serbia’s Andrija Zlatic taking bronze on 685.2.
After a 60 shot qualifying heat where a top score of 600 was available, the field was cut to eight for the final with those remaining firing 10 times at a target where a top score of 10.9 was on offer for each shot.
After coming through both nerve-wracking stages, the South Korean, who will defend his Beijing Games 50m pistol title in London, threw both fists into the air in relief.
“I was very nervous. I did my best to overcome my anxiety, but I will try to improve my performance for the next event,” Jin told reporters.
The South Korean appeared to be coasting to victory after he had built up a 4.4 points advantage after five rounds, but Jin then opened the door to his opponents as he struggled, scoring four consecutive nines with Tesconi cutting the advantage to 1.3 before the final shot.
However, the 32-year-old Jin held his nerve and saved his best for last by firing a 10.8 to take gold, with his silver in the discipline four years ago.
Tesconi could only manage a 9.7 with his final shot, but he celebrated like he had won gold after securing a surprise silver after the 30-year-old started the final sixth.
“It is a dream come true,” said Tesconi, who said he had kept his family away from the action as he did not want them watching him.
“It is a fairytale, it’s the best day of my life. It was a rollercoaster of the competition. I was tense and nervous in the beginning, but I closed into a bubble of concentration and relived the experience of training at home,” he said.
China’s defending champion Pang Wei finished a disappointing fourth after some erratic shooting, which brought five nines and a number of groans from his many supporters in the crowd.