Crack shot Kim Jang-mi won South Korea’s first women’s shooting gold in 20 years in the 25m pistol on Wednesday as the Asian nation drew level with China and the US on two golds each.
Kim came close to blowing a gaping lead as inspired defending champion Chen Ying edged ahead with just one series of shots to go, but she held her nerve, with Chen taking silver and Olena Kostevych of Ukraine winning bronze.
The 19-year-old, only the second South Korean woman to win a gold medal in shooting after Yeo Kab-soon, who won the women’s 10m air rifle in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992, said knowing she was so close to losing out on gold inspired one final effort.
“Actually for the moment I thought that I’d lost gold and then I thought that if I go to bed tonight with a silver medal then I would feel really bad, and I thought that I would just concentrate more,” Kim said.
Kim said before she traveled to London she wanted to show that South Korea’s women were just as competitive as the men.
The South Korean, who set the world record in London in April, enjoyed a healthy lead going into the final after topping qualifying with an Olympic record 591 points, five clear of Thailand’s Tanyaporn Prucksakorn.
Chen, who started the final six points adrift of Kim, put the South Korean under huge pressure, outpointing her in the first three series of five shots to lead by 0.8 points going into the fourth and final series, but Kim found her form to claw back the deficit and secure gold with a total score of 792.4, a point ahead of Chen.
“During the process I didn’t really know the changes in ranking and I was just following my coach’s instructions, trying to concentrate on what I was doing,” Chen said.
Bronze for Kostevych was her second medal of the London Games after she took bronze in the women’s 10m air pistol.
Taiwan’s Tien Chia-chen finished 16th, with just the top eight qualifying for the final.
Kim’s gold came after Jin Jong-oh won the men’s 10m air pistol. Out of seven golds so far, South Korea, China and the US have two each, while Romania have one.
Additional reporting by Staff writer