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Japanese rifle shooter takes surprising win at East Asian Games

2009-12-08 05:54:38 GMT2009-12-08 13:54:38 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Konomoto Maki of Japan waves to the spectators after the women's final of the 10m Air Rifle in the 2009 East Asian Games at South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2009. Konomoto Maki won the gold with 501.4 rings in total. (Xinhua/Tao Xiyi)

Yi Siling(R) of China is interviewed after the women's final of the 10m Air Rifle in the 2009 East Asian Games at South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2009. Yi won the silver with 500.7 rings in total. (Xinhua/Tao Xiyi)

Silver medalist Yi Siling (L) of China shows the medal with gold medalist Konomoto Maki(C) of Japan and bronze medalist Gu Sura of South Korea during the awarding ceremony for the women's final of the 10m Air Rifle in the 2009 East Asian Games at South China Athletic Association in Hong Kong on Dec. 8, 2009. (Xinhua/Tao Xiyi)

HONG KONG, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Maki Konomoto took a surprising win in the women's 10-meter air rifle event with a fantastic final round here on Tuesday at the 5th East Asian Games.

The lesser-known Japanese markswoman came from one-point behind to topple the leading Chinese National Champion Yi Siling. It was Japan's only gold medal in shooting sport in the EAG.

Konomoto fired 104.4 points in the 10-shot final, with decisive shots on the seventh and ninth where she caught up with Yi and finally took over the leading position.

The 25-year-old Konomoto made into the final round only once out of her 20 attempts at the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) competitions and two Asian Championships since 2005.

She collected an awful score of 99.4 points in the final round of the air rifle event in Munich World Cup in 2005 and finished on the eighth position among the eight finalists.

The East Asian Games gold was her first international title, but the winning score of 501.4 points in total was the only one out of four shooting events here that failed to break the games record. The current record of 502.3 points was set by famous Chinese sharpshooter Du Li in Macao, 2005.

The 20-year-old Yi made a name in China's National Games in October by winning a gold medal in the air rifle event and a silver in the 50m three positions, and thus came here as a top favorite for the title.

The youngster finished with a silver medal on 500.7 points and was not happy about the result.

"I lost my concentration again in the final," said Yi, described it as a long-time weak point. "In the seventh and ninth shots, she fired fast and I just cannot help looking at her score."

Those two shots turned out to be fatal, where she did a 9.8 and a 9.5, handing out the leading position.

"I have only myself to blame." She added.

Tuesday's competition concluded the shooting tournament of the EAG. South Korea led the medal tally with two golds, one silver and one bronze, followed by China with one gold and three silvers. Japan was on the third with one gold and two bronzes. The other bronze medal was taken by the DPR Korean team.

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