Italian lands second gold but no luck for Sampson and Godward as Rio shooting concludes

The Olympic shooting campaign finished on a disappointing note for the Australian team when Dane Sampson and Will Godward both failed to make the final of the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Position event in Rio. Sampson clocked up a score of 1169-58x to finish in 20th position with team-mate SSAA member Godward lagging behind in 40th place after a tally of 1156-41x.

Even so, Sampson was content with what he had achieved and the Queenslander felt that the result has given him a confidence boost for his future endeavours. “I’m happy with that, it’s actually my second best score of the year so it’s good to get a good score down,” he said. “I really enjoyed it out there. I was a bit disappointed with how I shot the other day (in the men’s Air Rifle) so to come back and finish where I did is good.”

The competition was won by reigning champion Nicollo Campriani, of Italy, who earned his second gold medal of the Rio Games. The 28-year-old led after both the kneeling phase and the prone phase. During the standing portion of the event, Campriani and silver medallist Sergey Kamenskiy exchanged the lead. Campriani and Kamenskiy were well clear of the rest of the pack so the gold medal was always going to be decided between the two.

The tension boiled over on the final shot for the last standing shooters. Kamenskiy held a 0.6 advantage over Campriani, who fired a lacklustre 9.2 to seemingly gift the outcome to the Russian. However, Kamenskiy could only manage a limp 8.3, which stunned onlookers and handed the gold medal back to the defending champion.

For Campriani, the victory was a matter of sheer relief. “My heart just gave up,” he said to the Indian Express. “I was so tired from such a long week.”

Kamensky, also 28, put his squandered opportunity down to an attack of nerves. “You’re nervous and this is the high point of your emotions and it’s really hard to find points with your emotions (churning),” he said. “It’s really hard with the pressure and I was unlucky.”

The bronze medal was claimed by 21-year-old Alexis Raynaud, of France.

Earlier in the week, Campriani had grabbed the Air Rifle gold medal as well. For Italy, the result meant the nation’s seventh shooting medal of Rio, the most they have ever won at a single Olympic Games.

Over nine days and 15 events, Italy finished at the top of the shooting medals table, with four golds and three silvers, and was followed by Germany. Heavyweights such as the United States and China did not perform as well as expected.

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