Shooting wrap up

11 August 2012

SHOOTING: It was a case of so near and yet so far for the Australian shooting team in Olympic action at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Yet again, it was the shotgun range that provided the highlights.

Michael Diamond was the talk of the range. His perfect score of 125 out of 125 in qualification for the men’s trap was the equal world record, and eclipsed the Olympic Record he set on the way to gold in Atlanta.

The standard was so high throughout the competition that despite Diamond’s perfect score, he only led by one going into the final. Contrast that with Beijing four years ago where the leader of the men’s trap qualified with 121. In London, a score of 121 did not make the final.

Diamond took a one shot lead into the final, and was unfortunately defeated for the bronze medal in a shoot-off, mirroring what happened in Beijing.

Diamond’s performance in qualifying will long be talked about – as will the poise and composure he showed post-final.

Athens gold medallist Suzy Balogh returned to Olympic competition – and did so in great style, making the final of the women’s trap.

Her fifth place gave her enormous confidence, and the fire is burning to keep on in the sport.

“Absolutely. I made the Olympic final and I’m really happy with what I did here in London,” Balogh said.

“Rio is definitely something I want to be a part of.”

Russell Mark did not make the final in the double trap at his sixth Olympic Games. Although he will continue in the sport with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games his primary target, he did concede his Olympic experience won’t extend to Rio in 2016.

He has been a remarkable servant for the sport, and the Olympic movement in Australia.

The rifle and pistol competition did not result in any finals for the Australian contingent, however the Olympic experience for youngsters such as Hayley Chapman and Alethea Sedgman will be of great long term benefit for the sport in Australia, and encourage others to live their own Olympic dream.

Damian Kelly in London

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