Third gold medals for German and Italian shooters in Rio
Shooters from Germany and Italy took their NOCs gold medal tally at Rio 2016 to three apiece on 13 August as Christian Reitz (GER) won the 25m rapid fire pistol event, while fellow policeman Gabriele Rossetti (ITA) clinched the men’s skeet.
Upon winning his first gold in three editions of the Olympics, the 29-year-old Reitz walked across the range to hug fellow officer and training partner Jean Quiquampoix of France, who won the silver after a thrilling shoot-off with bronze medallist, China’s Li Yuehong.
In the eight rounds of five shots in quick succession, the world-record holding Reitz proved to be a reliably steady shot, never missing more than one target in each round. German shooters have now claimed five golds and nine medals overall in the rapid-fire shooting events at the Games, more than any other country.
The 20-year-old Quiquampoix was more of a surprise, coming up through the six finalists after a wobbly start and scoring several perfect rounds of five.
Before stepping up to the podium to receive his gold medal, Reitz, a bronze medal in Beijing, demonstrated his sense of fair play, as he went around the front to congratulate the silver and bronze medallists. “In Beijing 2008, I went in thinking I had no chance because it was a sixth place,” he said. This year, I had a great feeling going into the Games, so it was a little bit easier maybe on the mind,” he added.
Reitz victory follows on from Henri Junghaenel’s gold in 50m rifle prone and Barbara Engleder’s success in the women's 50m rifle three positions.
China's Zhang Fusheng, the 22-year-old world number one started out strong but crumbled midway through in his first Olympics, finishing fourth. Defending Olympic champion and five-time Olympian Leuris Pupo of Cuba finished fifth.
Reitz becomes the third German to win the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol title. Compatriot Ralf Schumann, won it three times, in 1992, 1996 and 2004, and is widely regarded as the best rapid fire exponent of all time.
Quiquampoix, the first French man to get a medal in a pistol event since 2000, said the silver was a sweet reward, but that he has his sights set on higher targets. “I want to go to Tokyo and win the gold,” he said.
Rossetti outstrips his father in the skeet
Gabriele Rossetti gave Italy its third shooting gold medal with a perfect score in the men's skeet event on 13 August.
The 21-year-old police officer, who was making his Olympic debut, registered perfect scores of 16 in the semi-final and the final, eventually defeating 26-year-old Marcus Svensson of Sweden by just one shot.
"I am the champion. I am the champion, that's all. I am happy,” said the Italian, whose father Bruno won bronze in the same event at Barcelona 1992. “I always imagined I could win gold…My dad won the bronze; and now I’ve the gold at my first Olympic Games. I will sleep well tonight!”
Abdullah Al-Rashidi, an Independent Olympic Athlete, who had become something of a crowd favourite in Rio, won the bronze, his first medal in six Olympic Games.
After he beat Mikola Milchev of Ukraine, the 52-year-old Rashidi waved to the crowd as they chanted “Mustache!” in Portuguese.
“I am very happy,” beamed Rashidi. “So happy with the Brazilian people because I heard this support from their heart… Thank you very much Brazil, I don't know why but I love Brazilian people. Now Brazil is in my heart. Because this is the Olympics and I took a medal, I will not forget Brazil or Rio de Janeiro."
Meanwhole, the US two-time and defending Olympic champion Vincent Hancock did not manage to qualify for the semi-finals. He was vying to become the first male shooter to win the same event at three consecutive editions of the Games.