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Defending Champion Grozdeva Tipped to Complete a Hat-trick
    2008-08-12 15:19:00     Xinhua
Shooting competition on Wednesday is not just an occasion for athletes to gain medals, but a chance for many countries to end their gold medal drought.

Defending champion Maria Grozdeva of Bulgaria has grabbed gold of women's 25-meter pistol at the Sydney and Athens Olympics. The 36-year-old mother of three is tipped to complete a hat-trick.

Serbia's Jasna Sekaric will be one of her major challengers. The 43-year-old was a popular athlete in her country. "I've been doing the sport for 20 years. And I was always expected to win by my country and my people," she said.

Gold medalist in the 1988 Seoul Olympics who raked in three silver medals in following Olympics at women's 10-meter air pistol, the veteran shooter finished her Olympic competition in the discipline this time empty-handed. Maybe she is keen to make up for the miss on Wednesday.

Mongolian shooters Munkzul Tsogbadrah and Gundegmaa Otryad are also competitive in the event, especially the latter who was champion at the 2006 World Cup Final and finished sixth in the event in Sydney and Athens Olympics.

Russian shooter Natalia Paderina is coming again. The 33-year-old just won a silver in 10-meter air pistol. Maybe her comeback this time would bring her nation, a shooting powerhouse and sports tycoon, the first Olympic gold medal this time.

Two Chinese markswomen will be competing with them.

This is the Olympic debut of 26-year-old Fei Fengji from Shanghai. "Hopefully you could become a dark horse this time," said Gao Zhidan, leader of the Chinese shooting squad before the Olympics. She had snatched silvers in 2005 World Cup Final and 2006 World Championships.

Chen Ying will take part in her second Olympics. The world champion with at least half a dozen gold medals from the discipline in international events was fourth-placer at the Athens Games. Although her coach said she was not in shape lately, who knows if Wednesday will see a breakthrough of the 30-year-old Beijinger?


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