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(LEAD) (Olympics) Shooter Kim Jang-mi wins gold in women's 25-meter pistol

All Headlines 01:27 August 02, 2012

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details, comments, photo)

LONDON, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- Aided by a bull's-eye in the taut final, teenage shooter Kim Jang-mi won gold in the women's 25-meter pistol event at the London Olympics Wednesday. It was South Korea's fourth gold at these Olympics.

At Royal Artillery Barracks, Kim fired 792.4 points, adding 201.4 points in the final to her Olympic-record qualification score of 591.

Kim needed a perfect score late in the final to fend off Chen Ying of China, the 2008 Olympic champion who won silver with 791.4 points. Olena Kostevych of Ukraine won bronze at 788.6 points.

Kim's is the second shooting gold for South Korea in London after Jin Jong-oh captured the men's 10-meter air pistol event last week. She is also the first South Korean female pistol shooter to win an Olympic gold medal.

Kim, who turns 20 next month, entered the Olympics as the heavy favorite after setting the 25-meter world record with 796.9 points in April.

Kim entered the finals holding a five-point lead over Tanyaporn Prucksakorn of Thailand, and went off to a fast start by nailing a near-perfect 10.7 with her first shot. In the final competition, 10.9 is the maximum score.

With Prucksakorn falling back with a 7.6 in her sixth shot, Chen made her move with eight consecutive shots in the 10s. Suddenly, Kim went off line, earning 9.2 with her 10th and then back-to-back 9.6s midway through. With five shots remaining, Chen led Kim 741.4 to 740.06.

It was under pressure that Kim summoned her best. On the third to last bullet, Kim hit the bull's-eye 10.9. Chen went off target with a 9.3 to squander her lead. The South Korean closed out with a 10.3 and a 10.1, while Chen's final bullet went for only 9.7.

Kim said she dug deep after falling behind the Chinese late in the final because, she said, she didn't think she'd enjoy silver.

"I saw on the screen that I'd dropped to second, and I started imagining what it'd be like to get a silver medal," she said. "I decided I wasn't going to like that feeling. So I thought to myself I might as well try to win gold."

Kim built a substantial lead after qualification but she said she couldn't afford to relax until after the final shot.

"When I realized I'd won the gold, I didn't know how to react," she said. "I choked up for a moment, but I told myself I should smile."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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