Old hand Warren Potent and rising star Laetisha Scanlan struck a golden double for Australia on day four of the Commonwealth Games shooting at Carnoustie. Daniel Repacholi chipped in with a bronze in the men’s 50m Pistol to add to his 10m Air Pistol gold he won earlier, cementing Australia’s best day so far at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre.
In windy conditions, 52-year-old Warren Potent had to survive a late surge from India’s Gagan Narang to ensure gold in the men’s 50m Prone Rifle, with his concluding shot that clocked up a Games record for a final of 204.3 points. The nerves were palpable as a healthy Australian contingent in the crowd held their collective breath, with Potent taking aim for his clinching effort after Narang had already fired. Potent admitted to feeling a huge sense of relief about his feat. “It was almost terrifying,” he said. Narang finished on 203.6 points, while the bronze medal was claimed by England’s Kenneth Parr, who tallied 182 points. Australia’s Dane Sampson just missed out on a medal when he landed a plucky fourth finish. Potent is a veteran of four Olympics and snared a bronze at Beijing in 2008. On the Commonwealth Games front, visits to Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Delhi have harvested silver and two bronze. “It has been a long time coming,” Potent said. “At my age it’s a huge thing getting a gold.”
For 24-year-old Victorian shooter Laetisha Scanlan, success has come early in her career. Scanlan grabbed gold in the women’s Trap after believing that she had blown her chance following a scrappy qualifying effort. She was ready to leave the venue before squeezing through via the last available berth. The lucky escape possibly worked in her favour. “I had no pressure, I was the underdog,” she said. Scanlan put her gun back together to see off India’s Shreyasi Singh in a sudden-death decider. She then hit 13 out 15 targets in the final to edge out Cypriot Georgia Konstantinidou, who clocked up a score of 12. The bronze berth was taken by Caroline Povey, of England.
Daniel Repacholi wasted no time in following up his earlier gold medal with a well-deserved bronze in the men’s 50m Pistol. Gold went to India’s Jitu Rai, who amassed 194.1 points. India made it a one-two with Gurpel Singh landing silver on 187.2 points. Repacholi earned 166.6 points. Australia’s Bruce Quick managed eighth position in the final.
Medals just eluded Australia’s Catherine Skinner who placed fifth in the women’s Trap, and Robyn Ridley who placed fourth in the women’s 50m Rifle Prone. Fellow Aussie Jennifer Hens finished behind Ridley in 10th spot.
Australia’s shooting bag at the Games rests at four gold medals and two bronze with a day of competition left. The progress score has already overtaken Delhi 2010’s haul of three gold, two silver and two bronze, despite team events being jettisoned for the Glasgow schedule.
Australia could capture more gold on the last day of shooting competition on Tuesday, July 29. Veteran Michael Diamond sits second in the men’s Trap with teammate Adam Vella fourth. Delhi 2010 golden girl Alethea Sedgman will be starting in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position event.
Meanwhile, 60-year-old English veteran Michael Gault has called time on a glittering shooting career after missing out a medal in the men’s 50m Air Pistol. A place on the podium would have made Gault the most decorated medallist in Games history. However, he shot 529 from six rounds to end up in 13th spot. Gault’s retirement means he remains the joint most successful athlete in the Commonwealth arena alongside Australian shooter Phillip Adams, with 18 medals. Gault made his debut in 1994 and his roll of honour stands at nine gold medals, four silver and five bronze.