Poland’s Agata Nowak holds her nerve to win shooting gold

The crowd erupted in cheers when Agata Nowak (POL) shot her final pellet to score a near-perfect 10.7, but the day was not over yet in the women’s 10m air pistol competition.

Margarita Lomova (RUS), who was the last to fire in every round, still had one shot remaining and one chance left to win gold at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Every other competitor had been eliminated. Lomova hit her worst shot of the final, a 7.7, and still claimed silver with a score of 194.4. Minjung Kim (KOR) marked a 175.4 to take third.

This was the first international shooting competition that featured music during the event, and audience cheering is now allowed during competition according to rules modified by the International Shooting Sport Federation after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Nowak said she has no idea how she overcame the pressure. “My heart was pounding. I have no words to describe it,” she said. “But you must learn to shoot in this noise.”

Nowak had won a tiebreaker to secure the last available spot in the final, where she started strong with four of her first six shots above 10, then hit a perfect 10.9 for her 16th shot, contributing to her 196.9 final score.

“I didn’t expect to go from eighth place in qualifying to first in the final,” she said. Lomova was remarkably consistent throughout the event. All but three of her first 12 shots were over 10. Only at the very end did she lose concentration, shooting 9.7 and then 7.7 to fall into second.

“I thought my [9.7] shot in the final round would be enough, but Nowak’s next shot was a 10.7,” Lomova said. “A 10.9 is the best shot I can shoot, and that last shot demanded it.”

Despite losing the lead, and gold, on the last shot, she was overjoyed with her silver medal. “It’s been very hard to train for this,” Lomova said. “All the time I’m shooting. To win silver is incredible.”

Shooting action continues Monday 18 August with the men’s 10m air pistol event.