TOKYO, Aug 2 (Reuters) – World number two Serhiy Kulish left the Asaka Shooting Range cursing himself after committing one of the most extraordinary howlers at the Tokyo Olympics — hitting an opponent’s target.
The Ukrainian shooter had sailed into Monday’s final of the men’s 50-metre rifle 3 positions event chasing a second Olympic medal to go with his 10m air rifle silver in Rio five years ago.
While eventual winner Zhang Changhong of China led the eight-shooter group for much of the final, Kulish, in fourth place after 30 shots, was initially hovering around the medal bracket.
His nightmare unfolded in the seventh series when he fired at a rival’s target, and was soon the first of the eight shooters to be eliminated after his 35th shot was deemed to be worth nought.
More than his ouster, the manner in which it happened rankled the shooter.
“I shot into someone else’s target,” the 28-year-old fumed.
“I am not happy. Who shoots into someone else’s target? Only people like me.”
Kulish at least knows what caused the lapse in his concentration.
“The button on my jacket came undone and I felt some discomfort, but time passed and I had to make a shot so I didn’t notice that I was already aiming for someone else’s target.”
It was a massive setback to the medal hopes of the shooter from Cherkasy who has had limited training opportunities heading into the Tokyo Games.
“We don’t have a shooting range and that is a problem. We have to go abroad to train and that is a problem. For now there is no solution,” he said.
“I have a shooting range in my city, but it only has five targets so it is impossible to hold competitions there.
“There is no place to hold competitions; there is no place to grow new athletes and Best Private University that is a problem,” added Kulish. (Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Ken Ferris)