|Shooters from China, the world's shooting powerhouse, suffered a mini-Waterloo in 10m air rifle at the ISSF World Cup in Munich on Saturday.
China's Zhu Qinan, Athens Olympic champion, shot a poor score of 9.6 points in his final try in men's 10m air rifle, losing the hope of regaining brilliance and merely taking home a bronze.
China's Yi Siling, who grabbed a silver in last month's Beijing leg of ISSF World Cup, placed the fourth in the women's 10m air rifle.
Yi's teammates Yin Wen, who had recently crowned two championships at ISSF World Cup series, and Wang Qinqin, failed to enter the final stage of the women's event.
Their fate was shared by Zhu's teammates Liu Tianyou and Li Jie, who did not get chance to shoot in the men's final either.
Zhu staged moderate performance in the qualifying round earlier on the day, scoring 597 points to elevate to the final in the 6th place.
However, the experienced shooter performed steadily in his first nine shots in the final, catching up to the second place with 691.0 points.
Unfortunately, Zhu shot an awkward 9.6 points in his final try, smashing his gold-medal dream to pieces.
Zhu has been enduring enormous pressure after he lost the widely-expected gold medal in the Beijing Olympic Games, and the 25-year-old said he could hardly stand the pressure in the final competition.
"I know I have a chance (to win the gold medal), but I felt suffocated in the final today," he told Xinhua.
Zhu did not smile when he was at the medal-awarding podium.
"At least I did good in the first nine shots," he said, comforting himself.
Yi, who joined the national team last year, merely scored 9.7 points in her first shot in the final stage, signaling a dooming fate.
"I was very nervous in the first place," Yi said, noting that the competition was fiercer than she had expected.
Yi's coach said her shooting techniques are good, what she lacks in experience and self control.
The downfall of the Chinese regiment, however, benefits the western shooters.
Israel's Sergy Rikhter claimed the gold medal of men's 10m air rifle, edging Hunary's Peter Sidi and China's Zhu Qinan to pocket his first medal in the international arena.
Sidi scored 701.5 points to take home a silver medal, while Zhu made 700.6 points.
Rikhter, who had never won a medal in the ISSF World Cup series, also placed the first place with 599 points in the qualifying round earlier on the day.
Despite a poor last shot of 9.8 points in the final, the 20-year-old still made his medal dream come true. "I'm every excited, I did not expect that," Rikhter told Xinhua after the final.
He said the Munich leg of ISSF World Cup is his fourth international appearance, and he was very pleased to bring a medal for his team.
On the women's event later on the day, Ukrainian and German shooters shared the medals of women's 10m air rifle.
Darya Shytko of Ukraine scored 502.7 points, edging three-time world champion Sonja Pfeilschifter and Beate Gauss. The German duo took home silver and bronze.
Boasting the same 399 points in the qualifying round, the trio staged a fierce competition in Saturday's final.
Shytko staged a come-from-behind drama despite a poor shot of 9.7 points in her fourth try, and she successfully surpassed left-handed Pfeilschifter in the ninth shot with 492.0 points against 491.7 points.
During the breath-taking final shot, Shytko tallied an amazing 10.7 points, while Pfeilschifter, who was the last to trigger, ended up with 10.6 points, a handsome score but shy of winning the gold.
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