Italy’s Niccolo Campriani won the men’s 50m rifle three positions shooting gold in dominant style on Monday, as Croatia’s Giovanni Cernogoraz needed a shoot-off to seize trap gold.
Engineering student Campriani added the gold to the silver he earned in the 10m rifle, beating South Korea’s Kim Jong-hyun and hard-luck American Matthew Emmons.
There was a new face atop the podium in the men’s trap, as Cernogoraz gave Croatia a first Olympic shooting gold.
His triumph accounted for Croatia’s fifth Olympic gold in any sport and it was the country’s second in London — their first multiple gold Olympic campaign. Sandra Perkovic of Croatia earned women’s discus gold.
“This gold medal will be very good for me, my family and the whole country,” said Cernogoraz, who beat Italian Massimo Fabbrizi in a shoot-off after they finished the final round tied on 146 points. “It is just fantastic. I was crying before the shoot-off started because I realized that at least a silver medal was 100 percent for me. I did not expect gold.”
Kuwaiti Fehaid al-Deehani claimed the silver medal in a shoot-off against Australian Michael Diamond, after they finished the closely-fought final tied on 145 points.
Campriani, in contrast, was in control throughout in the rifle three positions. He started the final with an eight-point lead having stormed through qualifying at the Royal Artillery Barracks with an Olympic record score of 1,180 points.
He finished six points clear with a combined Games best of 1,278.5 points.
Behind him there was a tense battle for silver, with Emmons — trying to erase heartbreaking memories from Athens and Beijing — lying second with a 1.6-point lead with one round remaining.
However, Emmons produced the worst shot of the final, a 7.6, allowing South Korea’s Kim to steal silver with a 10.4.
Emmons at least nabbed a bronze, just 0.3 points ahead of France’s Cyril Graff.
Emmons won the 50m rifle prone event in Athens in 2004, but blew his chance on the final shot in the 50m rifle three positions at the same Games and incredibly suffered the same fate four years later.
In 2004, Emmons shot the wrong target and in Beijing his trigger finger slipped, but after battling thyroid cancer, Emmons said he was just happy to find himself back on an Olympic podium garnering more hardware for the family trophy case to go with his own prior medals and those of his Czech wife, Katerina.
“I thought my Olympic medal-winning days were over and I am going to enjoy being back on the podium,” he said. “I would have liked better, but I am happy with bronze.”
“My vacation starts now,” he added. “It has been a really tough couple of years for me. The pressure has been difficult to deal with.”