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Sports

Czech shooter wins games' first gold

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008

BEIJING -- Katerina Emmons spoiled China's bid for the first gold medal of the Beijing Olympics on Saturday by winning the 10-meter air rifle for the Czech Republic.

Emmons, the wife of American shooter Matt Emmons, finished with an Olympic record of 503.5 points after shooting a perfect 400 in qualifying. Lioubov Galkina of Russia won the silver and Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia took the bronze.

The big surprise was a fifth-place finish by China's Du Li. She won the event four years ago in Athens. Du was just a point behind Emmons after qualifying.

Du was greeted with a roar from the fans in the upper balcony of the shooting range when she came out for the final. She turned to face the crowd with a wide smile on her face, waved and bowed before heading over to her lane. However, she misfired immediately in the final round, scoring only 9.8 points on her first attempt, the worst shot of any of the eight finalists.

Competitors can earn up to 10.9 points per shot in the final.

Jamie Beyerle of Lebanon, Pa., finished fourth.

Emmons won by 1.4 points, a comfortable margin for the event. She entered the final shot all but assured of victory.

Of course, her husband was in a similar spot four years ago in the three-position rifle event. He missed out on a gold medal because he fired at the wrong target on the final shot -- an unthinkable gaffe.

Matt Emmons did win a gold in prone rifle in Athens, and will compete in both prone and three-position rifle this year.

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