Aussie Sampson claims air rifle gold
Posted on 04/25/20 7:45 PM
Dane Sampson celebrates taking gold in the men’s 10m air rifle final at the Commonwealth Games.n marksman Dane Sampson knew what victory tasted like on the Commonwealth Games shooting range even before he was born.
His mother Robyn was pregnant with him when she – or “we” as Sampson puts it – won the Queensland state championships in 1986.
When he wasn’t growing up in the tiny southeast Queensland town of Coominya, he was doing his growing up as a shooter an hour and a half away at the Belmont complex, having taken up the sport at just 12 years old.
That’s what makes his gold medal victory in the 10m air rifle on Sunday all the more significant.
“It feels like my home, this place,” Sampson told AAP.
Sampson, 31, survived a tense shoot-off with Bangladeshi Abdullah Hel Baki to score 245.0 points and claim his first individual medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 10m air rifle.
He narrowly missed out in Glasgow 2014 and hasn’t finished higher than 20th in any event in his two Olympic appearances.
He thought he’d blown this chance, too, after leaving the door open for Baki with a dodgy final shot.
“It was a pretty bad shot,” Sampson said.
“It takes nothing – just the smallest of movements can put you a little bit off.
“It’s such a precise sport, that’s what makes it so difficult.”
But his opponent couldn’t capitalise, leaving a teary-eyed Sampson feeling sweet relief.
After winning, he embraced his father, Rodney, who was chief range officer for the qualification rounds of the event and also happens to be the president of Target Rifle .
“I think he’s gone off somewhere to cry,” Sampson said.
Adelaide teenager Alex Hoberg, 16, nearly joined Sampson on the podium but finished a narrow fourth behind India’s Ravi Kumar.
Sampson still has two more events to go – the 50m prone and 50m three positions – until he gorges himself on pizza and ice cream in his planned post-Games indulgence.
“I’ll enjoy today, and then tomorrow I’ll reset,” he said.
Sampson’s gold came after Elena Galiabovitch claimed bronze in the women’s 10m air pistol.
The Melbourne-based doctor showed nerves of steel to score 214.9 points in her first international final, as Indian 16-year-old prodigy Manu Bhaker won gold with ease, finishing with a Games record total of 240.9.
Another Victorian, 18-year-old Aislin Jones, reached the women’s skeet final but was the first shooter eliminated.