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Shamir Osman
Monday, Sep 29, 2014

Sports

Asian Games: Contrasting tales for Singapore on final day at the range

The New Paper | Shamir Osman | Monday, Sep 29, 2014

It isn't often that spectators get to gaze into the face of a shooter, never in the moments that actually count.

Backs turned to the world, they disappear into their own headspace, craving calm as they aim at the little black dot in front of them.

Emotionless.

Yesterday at the Ongnyeon International Shooting Range, it was anything but, as Gai Bin bagged a bronze on the final day of the shooting competition at the Asian Games.

Turning away from her target at the end of the qualifiers of the Games' women's 50m three-position, Jasmine Ser managed a smile - just a little one.

Her score of 590 saw her set a new Games record, and join three other women in sharing the Asian mark.

That was just the start of the day.

As Ser disappeared behind the scenes, to forget her score and focus on the final in the afternoon, the temperature started to rise.

One floor up, at the 25m range, Gai Bin had already fired all his shots in the men's 25m centre-fire, but the competition was far from over.

South Korea's Kim Young Min had experienced equipment malfunction, and as per the rules of the sport, was given another shot at the targets.

Standing with the spectators, his eyes flitting from Kim on the right, then to the scoreboard at the far left of the range, this was a different Gai.

The zen mask of calm fell away, revealing the mortal within, all raw nerves and thumping heart. At the time, his name occupied third spot, and Kim - the only shooter left at the firing line - was fast catching up.

"I was worried," Gai admitted later.

"I saw him in training and he's very experienced, and has got good technique... and with everyone watching him, he was doing very well.

"It was intense."

Decked in the kit of the Korean team, a man standing behind Gai suddenly sprang up from his seat, threw his hand up in the air and let out a loud groan of agony.

It was literally a hair's breadth that decided the competition.

Needing 10 points to pip Gai to bronze, Kim shot a nine.

Gai's 584 score was enough to see him across the line, and he finished just one point behind China's Jin Yongde and Qatari Oleg Engachev, who both chalked up 585 points to top the rankings.

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