Just when he thought victory was going to continue to escape him, South Australia’s Alex Hoberg produced a giant upset to win the men’s 50m 3 Positions shooting final in the last Tokyo Olympic Games nomination event at the Wingfield Rifle Range today.
Hoberg, a 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representative, held his nerve with the final shot to tally 453.4 points to defeat fellow South Australian Jack Rossiter (450.7) and dual Olympian Dane Sampson (442.8).
With two shots remaining, only 0.4 points separate the trio with third-placed Hoberg looking at early elimination.
Sampson, who led Rossiter by a mere 0.1 of a point, fired a solid 10.2 but was eliminated after Hoberg scored a perfect 10.9 and Rossiter managed a 10.5.
Then with the final shot, Rossiter could only manage a score of 7.7, his worst result of the series, and Hoberg eventually claimed a 2.7 point victory when firing a score of 10.3.
“It’s about time I got a first placing,” said a relieved Hoberg.
“I’ve had five second placings, so it was very pleasing to finally come away with a win,” he said.
Hoberg, 18, knew he required a near perfect score with two shots remaining to move through to the gold medal round.
“At the back of my mind I knew that I had to pull something big out. When I fired, I thought it could be a 10.7 or 10.8, and I had a big smile on my face when I looked down at the scoreboard and saw it was a 10.9,” he said.
Hoberg said he called on the experience gained from his recent close losses with the final shot.
“I’ve been placed first or second going into the last shot and I cracked under pressure, but I managed to hold it together today,” he said.
“I knew if I shot a 10, I would more than likely win because everyone is nervous with the last shot,” he said.
Hoberg will return to the range tomorrow in an attempt to secure Australia’s second Olympic Games quota position in the 10m Air Rifle.
Sampson seems certain to win one of the two positions and the second place looms as a battle between Hoberg and Rossiter.
“Tomorrow is a different day, a different competition, a different gun and a different distance and today’s win won’t have any bearing on what happens,” said Hoberg.
In the women’s 50m 3 Positions final, Emma Adams snared her third successive nomination finals victory when defeating fellow South Australian, Katarina Kowplos, in the decider where the lead changed continuously throughout.
The result came down to the last shot with Adams (437.3) firing a 9.6 compared to Kowplos’ (436.8) score of 8.5 to win by a mere 0.5 of a point.
Despite the hat-trick of nomination finals wins, Kowplos’ solid qualifying scores sees her hold the advantage over Adams on the Tokyo Games nomination scoreboard.
One athlete who doesn’t need to be concerned with the nomination scoreboard is Victoria’s Sergei Evglevski who completed a clean sweep in the last Men’s 25m Rapid Fire event at the Sydney International Shooting Centre.
Evglevski shot impressively, including two perfect flights of five points, to register 33 points from 40 shots to defeat ACT’s Thomas Ashmore (22) and Western Australia’s Scott Anderson (15).