Bailey Groves and Dan Repacholi will head to a Tokyo Olympic Games 10m Air Pistol selection showdown later this month after Groves claimed a vital last shot gold medal victory at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre today.
Groves, originally from Launceston but now living and working in Perth, trailed Repacholi by 0.9 points going into the final shot and fired a score of 10.2.
Repacholi followed and faltered with a score of 9.2 to hand Groves the win by 0.1 points.
Going into the last Olympic nomination event in Sydney later this month, Repacholi (1730 points) holds a slender seven-point lead over Groves (1723) in the battle to claim Australia’s single Games event quota position.
With qualifying results contributing to the final Tokyo nomination selection scoreboard, Groves was the highest qualifier for the final – claiming a valuable four points over Repacholi.
After the first 10 shots into the final, Repacholi held a healthy 2.1 point lead, but Groves gradually pegged back the lead to be only 0.6 points behind with two shots remaining.
Repacholi extended the margin to 0.9 when scoring a 10.1 to Groves’ 9.8. But Groves held his nerves to claim a memorable victory.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said a delighted Groves.
“I wasn’t watching the leaderboard at all throughout the final, so I had no idea what the (scoring) splits were. I only knew what I was shooting,” he said.
“When I shot my 9.8, and everyone clapped when Daniel shot, I thought that might be it. But I stayed strong for that last shot and wanted to do the best I could do, and I pulled through in the end.
“I shot first and did a 10.2 and I thought, that was respectful, and I had no idea what he had done.
“I didn’t watch his gun, didn’t watch his target. I just waited until he finished shooting and then looked at the leaderboard and saw I was on top,” he added.
While the men’s 10m Air Pistol remains undecided, Victoria’s Elena Galiabovitch will be headed to her second Olympic Games after a third successive victory in the women’s 25m Pistol.
The Oakleigh Pistol Club representative, who attended the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, hit 28 of 50 targets in the final to defeat South Australia’s Alison Heinrich (20) and NSW’s Dannielle Moleman (14).
Following today’s event, Galiabovitch has an unassailable lead in the race for Tokyo selection having amassed 1157 points, well ahead of her quota position rivals, NSW’s Dannielle Moleman (1696) and South Australia’s Alison Heinrich (1694).
“I’m very happy with the win. I’ve been working really hard, so excitement is fighting with fatigue right now,” said Galiabovitch.
“I’m pretty keen to get to Tokyo to see what it’s like,” he added.