How would you like to set a world record, lead the field by four points and find yourself on the outside looking in when the medals were awarded? That's what happened to Russia's Alexei Klimov in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol. He set the world record with a 592/600, thanks to a phenomenal stage two string of 298/300. His closest competitor was Feng Ding of China with a 588 and Leuris Pupo of Cuba at 586.
But due to the new finals rules, Klimov and the other five shooters who qualified for the final started from scratch in the final with a score of zero. From there, they fire eight five-shot series (four seconds per string). Scoring is hit or miss, with any value of 9.6 or better counting as a hit. After the fourth series, the lowest-scoring competitor is eliminated.
Defending bronze medalist Germany's Christian Reitz, who formerly was a co-holder of the world record of 591, was the first victim of the elimination format. Klimov was gone after round six, his fortune hurt by a score of just 2 in the fourth series.
Ding hung on for the bronze medal, leaving Pupo and India's Vijay Kumar—who'd finished the qualifying round with a 585—to battle it out for the gold. Kumar started strong with a perfect 5 in the first series, but Pupo quickly caught up, and by the final series, Pupo held a two-point lead. He fired a 4 in the last series to Kumar's 2, and Pupo claimed the gold medal and equaled the finals world record with a score of 34.
USA teammates Emil Milev of Tampa, FL, and Keith Sanderson of Colorado Springs, CO, finished in 13th and 14th places, respectively, with a score of 578—five points away from making the final. Milev fired 22 inner 10s to Sanderson's 16.
25m Rapid Fire Pistol
- Gold—Pupo, Leuris (CUB) (586) 34*
- Silver—Kumar, Vijay (IND) (585) 30
- Bronze—Ding, Fen (CHN) (588) 27
- 4. Klimov, Alexei (RUS) (592**) 23
- 5. Zhang, Jian (CHN) (584) 17
- 6. Reitz, Christian (GER) (583) 13
- 13. Milev, Emil (USA) 578
- 14. Sanderson, Keith (USA) 578
- * equals finals world record
- ** world record