Germany-Bulgaria sharpest shooters in 10m air pistol finale
The mixed pairing of Germany’s Vanessa Seeger and Bulgaria’s Kiril Kirov won gold thanks to a 10-3 victory in the 10m air pistol mixed international gold medal match on day 6 at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018.
The Seeger-Kirov combination proved unerringly accurate under pressure to defeat India’s Manu Bhaker and Tajikistan’s Bezhan Fayzullaev, who themselves had looked impressive after registering 10 points in both their quarter final and semi-final matches.
However, 16-year-old Seeger, who finished tenth in the 10m air pistol women’s category, and 18-year old Kirov, who finished 11th in the Men’s 10m air pistol competition, registered 10 points for the third time in a row to seal top spot on the podium. Kirov expressed his joy at winning gold. "I feel very excited for this opportunity, I love my country and it was incredible to represent it in these Games,” he said. Seeger added: "I can’t believe I won the gold! I think it will take me a few days to really realize what we achieved with my partner, I am completely happy."
Bhaker, who adds this silver medal to the gold she won in the women’s individual event, and who had already won three golds in the ISSF World Cup and Commonwealth Games earlier in the year, was also happy. "It was a great experience to be at this Olympic event,” he said. “I felt very good representing my country in this competition where the public was exceptional and encouraged us from the outside.”
Elsewhere in the competition, India’s Saurabh Chaudhary and Pakistan’s Nubaira Babur – both aged 16 – lost 10-3 to the Croatia-Belarus pair of Marijana Matea Strbac and Abdul-Aziz Kurdzi in the round of 16 qualifiers. However, the duo were heralded for the significance of their pairing, with Pakistan and India traditional sporting rivals. “If our combination is viewed a symbol of friendship, then I can be only happy about it,” Babur said. “Everyone talks about the rivalry, but I don’t think either of us were bothered about the fact that we belong from India and Pakistan.”
The mixed international team event, which made its Youth Games debut at Nanjing 2014, requires the first-placed male shooter in the finals of the individual event of the discipline to pair up with the female shooter who ends up at the bottom of the standings.
Chaudhary topped the individual event with his first Youth Olympic Games gold on Wednesday 10 October, while Babur, the only shooter in the Pakistan contingent, finished in last place. “In the little time we shared, I think I have been able to pick up a few things from him,” said Babur.
At the end of the day, it's only this experience that matters for us young athletes.Nubaira Babur Pakistan