Home shooter Jin Jong-oh came back from a 6.2-point deficit with six shots left to successfully defend his 10 metre air pistol world title in a sold-out finals hall at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Championships in South Korea.
Jin, the popular four-times Olympic gold medallist, started the final with a 9.4 and an 8.4 at the Changwon International Shooting Centre.
He found himself in seventh place at the end of the first five-shot series, but recovered to force a shoot-off against 22-year-old Artem Chemousov, scoring a 10.3 to the Russian’s 9.5.
With six shots left to fire, Jin trailed Chemousov, who had led from the first shot, by 6.2 points.
As the crowd’s excitement grew, he closed the gap with a superb series of shots in the 10th ring, first reducing the margin to 4.0 points with a 10.5 and 10.4 combination, then inching even closer with a 10.2 and a 10.6.
The local hero erased the remaining gap with his two conclusive shots and the two athletes finished the 24-shot round tied at 241.5 points.
Jin had edged his way up the standings as a series of shooters were eliminated from the match.
First to go was India’s 29-year-old Abhishek Verma, who placed eighth with 118.0 points.
A few moments later, Verma was followed by Vietnam’s 44-year-old Tran Quoc Cuong - seventh with 136.9 - and home shooter Han Seung-woo, who was sixth with 158.8.
After shot number 18, when Ruslan Lunev of Azerbaijan was confirmed in fifth place on 177.7 points, the four Olympic quota places up for grabs were awarded to South Korea - which took two quotas - Russia and Ukraine.
“I was very disappointed after my first series,” said Jin.
“This could be the last World Championship for me, so I told myself I couldn’t make any other mistake.”
The podium was completed by Jin’s 29-year-old teammate Lee Dae-myung, who took silver with 220.6 points, followed by Ukraine’s 20-year-old Pavlo Korostylov with 198.5.
With three shooters in the final, the host nation also won the team gold medal quite easily, totalling 1,747 points.
India and Russia took silver and bronze respectively, scoring 1,738 and 1,736.
India’s newly-established 16-year-old Asian Games champion Chaudhary Saurabh broke his own world record in winning the 10m air pistol men's junior event with 245.5 points.
Saurabh shattered the previous world record of 243.7 points, a record he had set a couple of months earlier at the ISSF Junior World Cup.
He gained a decisive lead after scoring 10.9 on his eighth final shot, finishing 2.4 points ahead of silver medallist Lim Hon-jin of South Korea.
Despite hitting the eighth ring a couple of times, the 17-year-old home shooter, hugely supported, was able to climb back up the scoreboard thanks to two consecutive 10.9 shots.
Saurabh’s team-mate Arjun Singh Cheema took bronze with 218.0 points.
South Korea won the team event with a junior world record of 1,732 points, scored by Lim Ho-jin, Sung Yun-ho and Shin Okcheol.
The Indian team, led by the new junior world champion Saurabh, finished in second place with 1,730 points, with Russia third on 1711.
The Championships are due to continue tomorrow.