Fourth time lucky for Engleder in three positions

Barbara Engleder of Germany won gold in a closely fought women's 50 metre rifle three position event on 11 August at Rio 2016. It was her first medal in her fourth and probably last Olympic Games.

Picture by 2016 Getty Images

The 33-year-old Engleder ranked at or near the top through the kneeling, prone and standing positions of the competition for a total score of 458.6, finishing just 0.2 of a point ahead of Olympic debutant Zhang Binbin of China, who mounted a late surge. Zhang's high-profile compatriot Du Li, the 2008 Olympic champion, took the bronze after battling with Engleder and surpassing her during the standing portion of the competition.

Engleder, a soldier and mother of a young son, had no idea how close it was at the end. Her final shot was a disappointing 9.0, while Zhang scored 10.4 but, when she realised she had won, she dropped to her knees in disbelief. On the podium she spread her arms wide like Rio's famous Christ statue and, when Germany's anthem began playing, her hard-fought win began to sink in.

“First I couldn't believe it and secondly I did not know if I should start to sing, so I started singing,” she said.


Zhang, 27, said she was really nervous in her first Olympic final. “All I told myself was to get this shot right, to get every shot right,” she commented. "I didn't actually think my last shot was good enough.”

Engleder, whose previous highest Olympics placing was sixth in this event in London, said it is time to hang up the rifle. “This is my last Olympic Games and almost the last competition to shoot," she said. "I am old enough for it now. I am almost 34 and my son needs a steady life and that is not my life at the moment.”