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Khan bites the bullet to win with the final shot

31 July 2002

Asif Hossain Khan claims Bangladesh’s first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games – and he’s just fifteen years old.

Michael Gault

Michael Gault claimed the seventh Commonwealth gold of his career

In the 10 metres air-rifle singles, Khan pushed India’s Abhinav Bindra (101.4) into second place, despite Bindra setting a Games record in the qualification round.

Australia took bronze through Timothy Lowndes (101.4).

But it was Khan who had the final say. His gold medal performance was a Games record 104.9, despite him finishing fifth in the initial qualifying session.

Khan said: “I’m very happy and very excited by this result. I felt a lot of a pressure – too much – because this is my first ever international Games.

"But I thought to myself ‘I have nothing to lose and nothing to win’. The others are all world class shooters and I’m just beginning.”

Khan was anxious as the competition went to the final shot: “I just thought I’d try hard on the final shot and make it a perfect, perfect shot– it was only a 9.9. I thought I’d come third or second, not that I’d won the gold.”

Bindra was very disappointed to finish second: “I was very disappointed – I thought I could have won it but that’s the way it goes.

"It was not that nerve-wracking. I wanted to fight hard, I tried to do it but it just didn’t go my way.”

He viewed Khan’s win as a surprise result: “I was a little bit surprised, but he had a good final, a good day and that’s the way it is. Let’s see where he is in four years time.”

Third placed Australian, Lowndes elevated himself from fifth to third position with his final shot: “I knew I was behind a bit and it was nerve-wracking. It wasn’t a great shot because it wasn’t absolutely perfectly in the centre but I can’t be disappointed with a medal. At least I will be up on the podium this afternoon.”

Meanwhile in the men’s 10m air pistol event England shot to another gold medal triumph. 48-year-old Michael Gault claimed the seventh Commonwealth gold of his career. There were tears of joy as Gault saw the reaction of his wife and daughter.

The reigning champion was languishing behind in fourth place in the qualifier – and after a poor start in the final, it looked like Gault would be out of contention.

Gault’s eighth and ninth shots were beautifully placed – and scores 10.7 and 10.8 brought him back into contention, elevating him to second before the last shot.

With his last shot Gault produced a 10.1 – giving him a record seventh gold medal by a slender 0.2 margin, to a rousing cheer from the home crowd.

Gault paid tribute to the spectators: “This has been the best crowd yet. They have been fantastic. I have known nothing like it in my life, lifting my spirits and focusing my mind.”

India also took bronze through Jaspal Rana: “I didn’t shoot badly, better than in the pairs. In the pairs I shot poorly and got silver, today I shot better and got bronze. I think Mick really deserved his medal – I think it was the right result.”

In the men’s trap singles, Australian Michael Diamond took his second consecutive Commonwealth gold: “Knowing that I was defending my title, I was quite nervous throughout the round.

"Missing a target quite early on put the pressure up a fraction. From then on in, I just had to put 100% into it and hang on.

"Among the targets this afternoon there were a lot of slippery ones among them, so keeping the head on the stock and keeping the aggressiveness up was obviously the key factor here.”

Silver medallist, Adam Vella, said of his fellow countryman: “He’s the best shooter in the world, he’s certainly up there as one of my heroes.

"It would have been great to be beat him. He is number one in the world. You always strive to do your best and knock off the top guys.

"Michael can really turn is on when he has to and that proved today, even though I shot a clean round last, he still had enough on me to keep it all going.”

India racked up another bronze through Anwer Sultan: “Winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games is very good for us. I was trying to shoot the best I can and I won the bronze, which is good enough for me.

"I really like the Bisley Range. Yesterday I shot really well, today I wasn’t so good. I missed two targets in the final – it happens under pressure. After the first 10 or 15 shots, when Adam hadn’t missed, I just started thinking of my own targets.

"This is my biggest medal win and I glad to be taking the bronze home.”

England’s Glyn Barnett remains the leader in the open full bore rifle singles going into Friday’s final stage. In second place is David Calvert who won the pairs event on Sunday with Martin Millar, the duo repeating their performance from Kuala Lumpur (1998). The highest placed woman in this mixed event is England's Jane Messer, who currently lies seventh.

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