Sharp shooter Campriani doubles gold tally in the three positions

Armed with his girlfriend's rifle, Italy’s Niccolo Campriani edged to his second gold of Rio 2016 on 14 August, winning the men's 50m rifle three positions event to round off the shooting programme.

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The 28-year-old Campriani, who was defending the title he won at London 2012, and who also took gold in the 10m metre air rifle in Rio, said he was left feeling deflated when he shot a disappointing 9.2 (out of 10.9) in his last standing target in the final shooting event of the Games. But it was still enough to scrape past Russia's Sergey Kamenskiy, who was making his Olympic debut and lost the gold with an underwhelming 8.3 in the last of 45 shots in kneeling, prone and standing positions.

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Campriani won his third Olympic gold by just 0.3 of a point to become the only shooter to win two golds in Rio. Sagging under the weight of their stability clothing, the two exhausted athletes embraced.

“The gold medal in London was a relief, the gold medal on Monday made me angry, but the gold medal today, I enjoyed it!” said Campriani, who had to borrow the rifle of girlfriend and fellow Italy shooter Petra Zublasing after having problems with his own. “My heart gave up, I was so tired after this week,” he added. “My matches, three finals, and watching Petra shoot as well… it was just such a long week.”

Over nine days and 15 events, Italy finished the shooting programme with four golds and three silvers, more than any other NOC. Only Germany came close to matching them, as traditional powerhouses like the USA and China failed to shine.

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The USA’s Matt Emmons, the world No. 1 who had arrived in Rio as hot favourite for the three positions event, failed to qualify, finishing in 19th place. Campriani said he was sad Emmons did not make it, calling the 35-year-old “the best shooter of the year, and the century.”

Kamenskiy, 28, said he felt blessed with the silver because he was the least experienced of the finalists. “The last shot is like a lottery," said Kamenskiy, adding "I was unlucky.” France's Alexis Raynaud took the bronze in his first Olympics at the age of 21.

Campriani who has enjoyed a 16-year shooting career, hinted that he could still return to the Olympic stage in Tokyo. “Life is long and there are so many things I can do,” he said. “But if I quit now it would annoy that my last shot was a 9.2.”