China’s Pang Wei and Jiang Ranxin withstood the challenge from their ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) rivals to win the 10m air pistol mixed team gold medal 16-14 at Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday.
Fresh from an individual bronze earlier, Pang and teammate Jiang shot 10.1 and 10.7 points respectively in the deciding round to give China the second gold medal in shooting at these Games.
“We are confident. For me, I see the first Olympic Games as a chance to develop myself, so don’t feel much pressure,” said 21-year-old Jiang.
Pang, who referred to Jiang as “niece,” said he had firm belief in his partner. “We support and trust each other psychologically.
Even before the match I knew she would be doing great, so I told myself I couldn’t be too bad,” the 35-year-old veteran said.
The Chinese pair qualified first but found themselves trailing 0-4 after a slow start. They managed to tie the contest 8-8 before establishing a 14-10 advantage, with a perfect 10.9 points from Jiang.
The resilient Russians Vitalina Batsarashkina, a gold medalist in the women’s individual event, and Artem Chernousov cut the deficit to two points and forced China into a time-out.
Chernousov and Batsarashkina made it a one-round match, levelling the scores at 14-14, before the Chinese shooters held their nerves and claimed gold.
Beijing 2008 champion Pang looked back at his journey so far and said “it feels totally different” to bag a gold this time.
“I had an easy gold in my Olympic debut, and I thought I knew what the Olympics was like. Then, for a long time, my desire was beyond my capability,” said the Rio bronze medalist. “After preparing for four Olympics, I matured in ability, in perception of the world and of the Olympics.”
“I feel fortunate to have won the gold today. It’s truly meaningful for me,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Olena Kostevych and Oleh Omelchuk helped Ukraine beat Serbia’s Zorana Arunovic and Damir Mikec 16-12 to take bronze.—AP