SPORTS


China's Cao comes back atop of an ISSF Air Rifle podium in Gabala after five years

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Gabala, August 10, AZERTAC

The three-time world cup medallist came back to victory at the ISSF World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan, beating Korea's Kim Sang Do and Croatia's Peter Gorsa. Rio 2016 Olympic Quota places went to Gorsa, Illia Chareika (BLR) and Istvan Peni (HUN).

The 2015 ISSF Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun World Cup in Gabala, Azerbaijan, continued today with the 10m Air Rifle Men final.

Spotlights turned on the 2012 Asian Champion Cao Yifei (27), from the People's Republic of China, ranked 9th in the world, as he won Gold in a spectacular fashion coming back atop of an ISSF Air Rifle podium five years after his last victory (Sydney 2010).

Qualified with 628.9 points, the Chinese athlete took the lead half way through the final, and kept it right to the end, with a few tenth of advantage over his opponents.

With a last shot of 10.0 points, Cao sealed the victory marking a final score of 207.4 points, leaving his closest opponent - Korea's Kim Sang Do - in second place 0.5 points behind, with a score of 206.9 points.

28-year old Kim had already made it to two ISSF World Cup final matches this year, on his home turf in Changwon (KOR) and in Fort Benning (USA), clinching two fourth places.

On his way to the second step of today's podium, the Korean shooter met and beat Croatia's Peter Gorsa (27) in a shoot-off after the 18th shot.

Gorsa, ranked 82nd in the world in this event and competing in the second world cup final match of his career, claimed the Bronze medal with 186.5 points. He had qualified for the final with today's highest score, 630.0 points, claiming a Rio 2016 Olympic quota for his country

Coming from a victory at this year's ISSF World Cup in Changwon, world's #4 Peter Sidi of Hungary, a 36-year old 4-time Olympian, followed the medallists taking the fourth spot. The Hungarian champion shot 626.9 points during today's qualifications, ad then totalled 166.0 points during the final.

India's 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist Gagan Narang (32) took today's fifth place with a final score of 144.5 points, after shooting 626.7 points in the qualifications. India's Olympic hope, who collected a 50m Rifle Prone Bronze medal at this year's ISSF World Cup in Fort Benning, is still missing an air rifle podium, this season.

He was followed by an up-and-coming athlete from Russia, the 2014 Junior World Champion Vladimir Maslennikov (20). Maslennikov - who had won a world cup silver shooting among seniors in Munich this year, did not make it to the podium, today. After qualifying with 627.1 points, he scored 123.3 points throughout the first 12 final shots, taking the sixth place.

Another young and promising athlete, the 2010 Youth Olympic Games Silver medallist Illia Chareika of Belarus (22), ranked 40th in the world in this event, made it to the final with 627.8 points, securing a Rio 2016 Olympic quota place. But after 10 shots in the final he was eliminated, placing in 7th with 103.1 points. Liu Tianyou of the People's Republic of China (33), coming back to an ISSF World Cup final match one year after his last appearance, was the first to leave the elimination-style medal match, placing in 8th with 81.8 points.

The 2014 Youth Olympic Games Bronze medallist Istvan Peni of Hungary (18) claimed the third Olympic Quota place available at today's event, booking a ticket for Rio 2016.

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