Sports: Vietnamese shooter makes history; S Korea, Japan too win gold

(From agencies)

A modest military officer created history for Vietnam by winning  gold in the men’s 10m air pistol while the South Korean men’s archery team won their country’s first gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on Saturday.

Vietnam's Hoang Xuan Vinh celebrates his shooting gold

Vietnam’s Hoang Xuan Vinh celebrates his shooting gold at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics

Also Japan’s Kosuke Hagino won the men’s 400-meter individual medley to kick off the gold rush in the Rio Olympics competition pool.

China finished the first day of the competition without a gold medal.

Forty-one-year-old Hoang Xuan Vinh struck the Olympic bull’s-eye for Vietnam to deny Brazil an opening day title, AFP reports.

He duelled with Sao Paulo-born Felipe Almeida Wu who had taken the lead after the penultimate round.

The Vietnamese claimed the title with a total points haul of 202.5. Crowd favorite Wu, almost 20 years his junior, took silver only .3 adrift. Vinh said he felt lucky to win the first gold medal in Vietnam’s history.

South Korea wasted little time in picking up its first gold of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as the men’s archery team came out on top, Yonhap reports.

Korean archers win gold in Rio

South Korean archers Lee Seung-yun, Kim Woo-jin and Ku Bon-chan (from L to R) pose with the national flag after winning the team gold medal

The trio of Kim Woo-jin, Ku Bon-chan and Lee Seung-yun defeated the United States team of Brady Ellison, Zach Garrett and Jake Kaminski by the set score of 6-0 at Sambodromo. It was South Korea’s fifth Olympic gold in the men’s team archery event and it avenged the loss to the Americans in the semifinals at the 2012 London Olympics.

South Korea is targeting an unprecedented gold medal sweep in archery this year and could not have asked for a better start to the quest.

In the first set, the South Koreans scored a perfect 60 to beat the Americans’ 57. The second set was a bit tighter, 58-57 for South Korea. In the clinching set, South Korea outscored the U.S. 59-56, with the last three arrows all hitting the perfect 10s.

South Korea’s first medal in Rio came minutes before the archery title, as judo’s Jeong Bo-kyeong claimed silver in the women’s -48kg at Carioca Arena 2. She lost to Paula Pareto of Argentina by waza-ari (half point) in the final, but it was seen as a surprise that Jeong even reached the final.

Hagino earns Japan’s first gold medal 

Hagino clocked 4min 05.06sec in the 400-meter individual medley, holding off American Chase Kalisz to wrest the title from US hands, where it had rested for the past five Games.

Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino wins gold

Japan’s Kosuke Hagino celebrates after winning the men’s 400-meter individual medley final during the swimming competition

Kalisz clocked 4:07.75 and Japan’s Daiya Seto was third in 4:09.71.

Hagino’s time made him the third-fastest performer in history behind world record-holder Michael Phelps and 2012 Olympic champion Ryan Lochte.

Neither of those U.S. stars were in action on Saturday, Phelps opting out of the gruelling event he dubbed “swimming’s decathlon” and Lochte failing to qualify at the U.S. trials

Chinese shooter narrowly misses gold

Earlier, Virginia Thrasher of U.S. won the first gold medal at Rio by holding her nerve to see off China’s Du Li on the final shot in the women’s 10-meter air rifle event, Xinhua reports.

Two medals for China shooters

China’s Du Li (left), Virginia Thrasher (center) of USA and China’s Yi Siling on the medals podium at Olympic Shooting Centre

Tharsher scored 208 points in the 20-shot final, edging 2004 Olympic champion Du Li into second place on 207 points.

Yi Siling, also from China, took the bronze medal.

“It’s just an intensive feeling of pride for my country and I’m so happy to be here,” said Thrasher.

It was the fourth Olympics for 34-year-old veteran Du, who won the title at the same event 12 years ago in Athens, Greece.

“It’s really hard,” said the silver medalist. “There were some expectations, but it’s just too hard.”

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