Shooting - Olympic Games

Hancock retains Olympic men's skeet gold

US army sergeant Vincent Hancock produced a perfect finale to hold off the challenge of Denmark's Anders Golding and rally car driver Nasser Al Attiya of Qatar to win the Olympic men's skeet shooting gold.

 
Hancock wins skeet gold - Shooting - Olympic GamesReuters
 

Hancock, 23, shot all 25 clays in the six-man final for an Olympic record 148 out of 150 at an overcast Royal Artillery Barracks in South-East London to retain the title he won in Beijing four years ago.

Golding took silver on 146 and Al Attiya (144) bronze after a shootoff with Russia's Valeriy Shomin for third.

"There is just no feeling like it," a beaming Hancock told reporters.

"Thank God for giving me the opportunity and putting me back on the podium again."

Hancock led from start to finish, shooting 74 of 75 targets in three sessions of qualifiers on Monday and 49 out of 50 in Tuesday's heats before picking up America's second skeet gold of the London Games following Kim Rhodes's success in the women's.

A remarkable effort by someone who recently thought about leaving the sport.

"Last year I almost considered quitting, I wasn't enjoying myself anymore, I didn't want to go train and for this sport you have to be dedicated to your training.

"My wife and I reassessed what we wanted to do, we prayed about it a lot and we came up with this is my passion, this is what I love to do every single day.

"I reset my goals, I wanted to come out here and win another Olympic gold medal and just keep going and win as many medals as possible and hopefully build my legacy enough that my kids, and the future generations of the sport, know me and I can pass on my knowledge to them."

Hancock, who will step down from military service in November, kept his gun thrown over his shoulder as he watched his competitors miss targets before sealing victory with a clay to spare from the eighth mark.

Ever the consummate professional, Hancock brought up pink smoke after hitting his final orange clay, pumping his fist into the air in celebration.

Denmark's Golding produced a strong performance in the final, scoring 24 in the final after a perfect 50 in the qualifiers, but his work in Monday's opening heats, where he missed three, let him down.

"I could have shot better in the first rounds," the tall Dane said. "In the final he shot a full house and even if I had shot full house I would have had the silver.

"Hancock is the best competitor you can find, he is very, very strong."

Hancock's celebrations could be described as mute in comparison to those of the Qatari delegation after Al Attiyah claimed the country's first medal in 12 years when he pipped birthday boy Valeriy Shomin of Russia in a shoot-off.

The 2011 Dakar Rally winner and current world rally championship driver was competing in his fifth Olympics and picked up the tiny Gulf nation's third bronze medal when Shomin missed with his sixth shot in the decider.

The 41-year-old was mobbed by members of the Qatari delegation after his bronze success.

"Shooting I cannot practice because I am always travelling, around 270 days," he said.

"I came here and shot maybe one week or 10 days before."

Al Attiyah's late crammed session is because he chooses to pursue his other love of rallying.

While Chinese Yi Siling spent two years in a training camp prior to winning the women's 10 metre air rifle, the first gold at the London Games, Al Attiyah travelled the world competing in rally car events with great success.

He won the 2011 Dakar Rally, a gruelling annual event that started out as a race from Paris across the Sahara desert to the Senegalese capital Dakar and claimed many lives, but has been moved to South America.

"It is completely different feeling because Olympics is every four years and Dakar rally you can do every year.

"I learn and I take a lot from rally about how I can fight and this is what I did here because really I don't have a lot of training because I am busy with motor sport."

And Al Attiyah knows which one is easier.

"To be honest, here my heart is working a lot," the Qatari said before laughing that the clay targets he shot could be compared to his rally co-driver as an equal participant in the sport.

"It is a few seconds, you must hit the target and from a few seconds you must move the gun from your middle to your face it is not easy but I'm happy to have this very high level from shooting."

That high level was required after a nervy six-man final which he began in joint third place.

He started well and took sole possession of third before two missed targets allowed Russia's Valeriy Shomin to tie and force a shoot-off.

"In Athens I had a shoot-off for a bronze medal and I lost but immediately when I was in a shoot-off here I remembered this day and I said I would do my best to finish third," he said.

"I was really believing in myself inside because the last 10 days here I worked very, very hard and I feel myself very good on this range."

The belief was not misplaced and bronze was confirmed after Shomin missed with his sixth shot.

That added to a memorable start to the London Games for Qatar, who fielded their first female Olympian, Bahia Al Hamad, at the shooting range on Saturday and have bold ambitions to host sport's biggest event in 2024.

"Qatar, she gave me everything that I need from motor sport to shooting you know I am so happy," Al Attiyah said before praising the inclusion of his female compatriots as Al Hamad watched on taking photographs.

"It is first time, it is a good message for Arab females and I think now all of the Middle East is open for ladies to compete this I think is a good thing."

Next stop for Al Attiyah - the Rally of Germany on August 24.

 - Eurosport
    • Related links
 
 
 
Do not miss
  • TV guide

    Find detailed TV schedules for all Eurosport channel.

  • Mobile Applications

    Find all the sports news on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and iPad.

  • Breaking News

    Follow up to the minute sports reports with Eurosport.

Follow Eurosport.com
 
On Facebook
 
On Twitter
 
On Mobile
EurosportCopyright 2014
Eurosport.com is available in other languages