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.

Sporting a pair of new lucky pink socks, NSW’s Dan Repacholi strengthened his claims for a fifth Olympics after winning the men’s 10m Air Pistol in the Tokyo Olympic Games nomination event at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre today.

After a sluggish start, Repacholi fired a final score of 236.7 points to defeat Victoria’s Sergei Evglevski (233.2) and NSW’s Damien Dowling (212.7).

Western Australia’s Bailey Groves, the only other athlete to register a Minimum Quota Score to be eligible for Australian Olympic team selection in the event, qualified second for the final with a score of 574 – one point behind Repacholi – but lost further ground on the Tokyo nomination scoreboard when finishing fourth in the final.

While pleased to record his second nomination event victory, Repacholi acknowledge there is room for improvement.

“In the first event, the score was a little lower and this event the score was a little bit higher. There’s still a lot more improvement to go,” said Repacholi.

“The final in the first one was good, the final in this one needs a little more work. But it’s all going in the right direction. Two wins, you can’t ask for anything better.

“There’s another event tomorrow and I’ll come and do what I need to do and hopefully walk away with another win,” he added.

The bearded 2.06 metre giant presented an interesting figure competing in pink socks, which were a Christmas gift from his two daughters, instead of his long-used rainbow coloured socks.

“They’re the bosses between all three of them. I’m just a little bystander who sits in the corner,” he grinned.

Victoria’s Elena Galiabovitch didn’t require any lucky charms or magic potions when outclassing the field in the women’s 25m Pistol.

The Melbourne doctor had the right medicine tally 31 points out of a possible 50 to defeat Queensland’s Civon Smith (25) and South Australia’s Alison Heinrich (22 points).

With two nomination events remaining, Galiabovitch has opened a healthy 46 point lead in the Tokyo selection event scoreboard over NSW’s Danielle Moleman and South Australia’s Alison Heinrich who are both on 1130 points.

Despite her lead, Galiabovitch says she isn’t calculating the nomination scoreboard.

“I’m not falling into the trap of thinking about the points. I just need to focus on myself,” she said.

The third of four men’s 10m Air Pistol and the women’s 25m Pistol events will be held tomorrow.

Dina Aspandiyarova is destined to contest her fourth Olympic Games after shooting a season-high qualifying score on the way to winning the woman’s 10m Air Pistol Tokyo Olympic Games nomination event at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre today.

Competing in hot and humid conditions, Aspandiyarova excelled to be the top qualifier for the final when recording 575 out of 600 points – a score which could have been higher except for a sixth and final series of 91 points out of 100.

In the final, the Queenslander shot consistently to tally 235.3 points to comfortably defeat Victoria’s Elena Galiabovitch (231.0) by 4.3 points with Queensland’s Civon Smith (210.9) claiming the bronze medal.

Aspandiyarova’s Olympic journey commenced when representing her native Kazakhstan at the Sydney 2000 Olympics before settling in Australia with her husband, former Australian pistol coach, Anatoly Babushkin.

Aspandiyarova became an Australian citizen in 2005 and represented her adopted country at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games before winning selection at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games.

With one 10m Air Pistol nomination event remaining and with only one event quota position available, Aspandiyarova leads the nomination scoreboard with 1735 points, 29 points ahead of Galiabovitch (1706) with Smith (1694) in third position.

However, Aspandiyarova says she is not focusing on the Tokyo Games nomination scoreboard.

“It’s not about where I’m sitting on the table. For me, it’s about learning and getting the most important things out of each match, how I can improve and implement them in the next match,” said Aspandiyarova.

Aspandiyarova seems certain to be joined on the plane trip to Tokyo by Victoria’s Sergei Evglevski after he claimed gold in the third men’s 25m Rapid Fire pistol nomination event.

Evglevski posted a qualifying score of 580 from a possible 600 points and shot 30 points out of 40 points, including three perfect flights of five points in the final, to outclass ACT’s Thomas Ashmore (19) and WA’s Scott Anderson (13).

With one event quota position available, Evglevski (1763 points) holds a commanding 55-point lead over Anderson (1708) and ACT’s Thomas Ashmore (1705) in the race for Tokyo selection.

Evglevski’s mother, Lalita Yauhleuskaya, won a bronze medal in the women’s 25m Sport Pistol for her native Belarus at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games – four years after finishing eighth in the 10m Air Pistol at the Atlanta Games. E

Like Aspandiyarova, Yauhleuskaya became an Australian citizen after the Sydney Olympics and represented her new country at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games while Evglevski’s father, Sergei Evglevski Snr., was the gunsmith for the Australian team at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and on the Australian team coaching staff for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Despite his solid performance today, Evglevski wasn’t satisfied.

“I felt today wasn’t as rewarding as past competitions. I made a couple of mistakes that shouldn’t have been there,” admitted Evglevski.

“The final was a bit tricky. I think the humidity really got to me because the gripping was hard, my triggering wasn’t very good and I had a lot of shots that were close but weren’t hits and that really put me off a bit,” he added.

The final women’s 10m Air Pistol and men’s 25m Rapid Fire qualification events will be held in Sydney later this month.

Queensland’s Dane Sampson will be headed to his third successive Olympic Games after continuing his masterly clean sweep in the men’s 3 Positions nomination final in Adelaide today.

Sampson’s victory has guaranteed him a place on the plane to the Tokyo Olympics even with the final 3 Positions nomination event to be held in Sydney later this month.

With athletes able to choose three of their best four nominations events for selection consideration, Sampson (3539 points) holds a 45 point lead over South Australians Alex Hoberg (3494) and Jack Rossiter (3484).

Sampson again proved too accurate today when tallying 454.9 points to defeat Hoberg (452.2) by 2.7 points with Victoria’s Michael Davis (441.2) taking the bronze medal.

Sampson is also unbeaten in the three men’s 10m Air Rifle nomination events to date and is strongly favoured to claim Australia’s single quota when the final event is held in Sydney later this month.

The bearded Queenslander was delighted to win the 3 Positions quota in such a decisive manner.

“I’m glad to have that done. I’m happy to shoot another competition and I can use that as training in Sydney,” said Sampson.

“That’s for sure me going (to Tokyo) and now we just have to decide on the air rifle. There’s a little bit of relief. One shoulder is relaxed and the other one is still working,” he added.

In the third women’s 3 Positions nomination event, South Australia’s Emma Adams scored back to back victories with a convincing win over Katarina Kowplos and Emma Woodroofe.

Adams (439.9 points) proved too strong in the final standing section to defeat Kowplos (430.9) by nine points with Woodroofe (422.2) relegated to third position after losing an earlier shoot-off to Kowplos.

Adams, who shot a personal best to be the highest qualifier, led Kowplos by a mere 0.4 points after the kneeling and prone rotations but outclassed her rivals in the standing section.

“I had a really good prone today which is good. I felt good and it was easy which doesn’t usually happen for me,” said Adams.

Despite being the runner-up today, Kowplos goes into the final nomination event in Sydney as the strong favourite to win Australian Olympic team selection.

Kowplos has amassed 3425 points in the race for Tokyo – 23 points ahead of Adams.

South Australia’s Emma Adams produced a confidence boosting victory when winning the second women’s 3 Position Tokyo Olympic Games nomination trial at the Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide today.

In an all-South Australian podium, Adams, a dual Commonwealth Games representative, claimed victory when scoring 434.9 points ahead of Tori Rossiter (432.0) and Katarina Kowplos (420.1).

Kowplos has a healthy lead in the race for Australia’s sole women’s 3 Positions quota position after another outstanding qualifying round yesterday. But Adams is looking to reverse the lead with two qualifying events remaining.

“I’m optimistic. If it happens, it happens but if not, good luck to Katarina,” said Adams.

Adams took a decisive 5.6 point lead in the first-up 15-shot kneeling rotation and never relinquished the lead.

“Kneeling is where I can get my most points,” said Adams. “I watched a whole season of Netflix on my knee in my living room to get comfortable in the position.”

NSW’s Maria Rebling, who was a strong contender for Olympic selection in the event, was forced to withdraw from today’s event after being diagnosed with a blood clot and unable to fly.

With the third of the four women’s 3 Positions qualifying events to be held tomorrow, Rebling’s hopes of winning Tokyo selection have been unfortunately dashed.

Earlier, Queensland’s Dane Sampson produced a domestic personal best qualifying score on the way to winning the men’s 3 Position final.

Sampson took a stranglehold on Australia’s single men’s 3 Position quota position for Tokyo when scoring 454.7 points to defeat South Australians Alex Hoberg (452.8) and Jack Rossiter (438.2)

Sampson (2361 points) has opened up a 35 point lead on the nomination scoreboard over Hoberg (2326) and Rossiter (2318).

Sampson’s personal best qualifying score of 1188 was recorded in the Czech Republic last year and he was satisfied with another improved performance.

“Qualifying was good. It was solid and I’m happy with that. My goal was to have a good result and do better that I did in the first nomination which I did,” he said.

“I’m in a very good position, but nothing is done until its done, so I am staying focused,” he added.

Catherine Skinner proved Olympic champions never lay down when surging back into Australian team selection for Tokyo Games when winning the third women’s trap nomination trial at the Melbourne Gun Club today.

Skinner, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games women’s trap gold medallist, slipped in the race for Australian team selection at the second nomination event in Newcastle in January, but today she proved she remains a world class trap athlete leading throughout the final to claim an important win.

Skinner ultimately shot 41 of 50 targets to edge aside fellow Victorians, Laetisha Scanlan (38) and Penny Smith (29).

Thanks to another world class qualifying score, Smith currently heads the race to claim one of Australia’s two women’s trap quota positions for the Tokyo Games.

Smith has tallied 364 points, 15 points ahead of Scanlan (348) with Skinner (345) just three points behind.

With the final nomination trial to be held at the Sydney International Shooting Centre on March 22, Australia’s second women’s trap position looms as a winner-take-all battle between Scanlan and Skinner.

“Penny Smith has been shooting fantastically and she’s got a very significant lead on us and I needed to pull something out to have a chance,” said Skinner.

In the third men’s trap nomination event, NSW’s James Willett (44 targets) continued his dominance when out-scoring Victoria’s Mitch Iles (41) and NSW’s Thomas Grice (31).

Willett and Iles couldn’t be separated for the first 30 of 50 targets, but Willett’s accuracy proved decisive over the final 20 targets.

Willett is certain to win selection for Tokyo with Iles and Grice battling for Australia’s second quota position.

In the men’s skeet, Queensland’s Paul Adams won a controversial final when defeating Victoria’s Keith Ferguson in a double shoot-off after their scores were tied after 60 targets, and then again after the first four shoot-off targets.

Ferguson, Luke Argiro, Joshua Bell and Frank Morris began the final on the back foot when they were all deducted a shot after presenting themselves after the official reporting time prior to the commencement of the match.

Despite an unsuccessful post-match protest, this penalty ultimately cost Ferguson the gold medal, while NSW’s James Bolding claimed the bronze medal.

Shooting in blustery conditions, Argiro held the early advantage before Adams, Ferguson and James Bolding charged back to eventually force Argiro’s elimination after 40 targets.

It was Adams’ third consecutive Olympic nomination trial victory, and he now holds an 11-point lead over NSW’s Joshua Bell in the race for Australia’s single men’s skeet Olympic team quota position.

In the women’s Skeet final, Victoria’s Aislin Jones held her nerve in the closing stages to edge aside West Australia’s Laura Coles by two targets.

Jones hit 40 of 60 targets ahead of Coles (38) while Victoria’s Brittany Melbourne, the highest ranked finalist, was third.

“It was definitely an up and down performance in both targets and performance. It was challenging,” said Jones.

The race for Olympic team selection for the single women’s Skeet quota place will go down to the final nomination trial in Sydney

Jones (348 points) holds a one point lead over Coles (347) with Melbourne (335) in third position.

South Australia’s Tori Rossiter edged closer to Tokyo Olympic Games selection after displaying a high level of composure to win the third Australian team 10m Air Rifle nomination event at the Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide today.

In a high-class final, Rossiter languished in fifth position in the eight-person field after the first 12 of 24 shots and faced the prospect of early elimination.

But Rossiter regained her focus and peeled off three near perfect successive scores of 10.8 to shoot back into gold medal contention and trailed leader, Victoria’s Elise Collier, by a mere 0.3 point after 18 shots.

The pair later traded scores of a perfect 10.9 and were eventually deadlocked on 228.1 points with the final two shots remaining.

Rossiter then fired another 10.8 and a final 10.2, while Collier could only manage scores of 10.0 and 9.9. South Australia’s Emma Woodroofe captured the bronze medal.

Rossiter, a 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representative, said she mentally blocked out the scoreboard in the final.

“I’m just trying to shoot the best shot that I can. I can’t influence what anyone is doing,” said Rossiter.

Rossiter’s qualifying score of 628.1 was the highest of her three qualifying scores to date and holds an important 9.1 lead over Collier in the race for Tokyo selection.

In the men’s 10m Air Pistol final, Queensland’s Dane Sampson seems destined for his third Olympics after a third consecutive nomination victory.

Once again South Australia’s young gun, Alex Hoberg, topped qualifying and the pivotal moment came in the 19th of 24 shots when Hoberg, who was leading by 1.1 points, could only manage a score of 9.9 while Sampson peeled off a near perfect 10.8 to slash the lead to just 0.2.

Sampson’s experience then came to the fore and he closed out the victory to tally 250.2 points ahead of Hoberg 249.7 and Jack Rossiter (227).

Despite the win and opening up a handy 2.7 point lead over Hoberg in the overall Olympic rifle nomination scoreboard, Sampson is still searching for an optimum performance.

“It’s getting better and better every week. I’m in the best position that I can be in and I’m happy that I’m in front,” said Sampson.

“It’s a tight competition, which is great, and its pushing all of us and that works well for us,” he added.

There will be two men’s and women’s 3 Positions nomination events on Monday and Tuesday.

Shooting Australia today congratulated the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) on its foresight and flexibility to approve a Commonwealth Shooting Championship in 2022.

Shooting Australia said the CGF’s decision to endorse Commonwealth sports shooting and archery championships in Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, in January 2022 has delighted shooting athletes and its member organisations.

The shooting and archery events will be held in India prior to the Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham, England, from 27 July – 7 August 2022.

The CGF stated the Chandigarh 2022 and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth sports championships will be two separately organised and funded Commonwealth sport events.

The CGF also added that medals won in India will be included as part of the medal table one week after the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony.

Shooting Australia President, Cath Fettell, said the CGF’s decision has delighted athletes and its member organisations.

“Shooting has a long and proud history within the Commonwealth sports movement and the decision by the CGF is warmly welcomed by Shooting Australia and the wider target sports shooting community,” said Ms Fettell.

“Representing Australia at a Commonwealth event is a major international career ambition for our athletes, and we are delighted they will again have the opportunity in 2022,” added Ms Fettell.

Shooting Australia High Performance Director, Adam Sachs, said the 2022 Commonwealth event represents a significant competition target for Australian shooting athletes.

“Shooting is world class and highly competitive among the Commonwealth nations and the staging of this event will assist in the preparation for future international events including the 2024 Olympic Games to be held in Paris,” said Sachs.

Further information: Greg Campbell, PRISM Strategic Communications, Ph: 0418 239 139

Dan Repacholi staked a decisive early claim for selection to a fifth Olympic Games when winning the first men’s 10m Air Pistol final in the Tokyo Olympic Games pistol nomination event at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre today.

The big, burly pistol athlete from Cessnock in NSW showed his class when scoring 240.1 points ahead West Australians Bailey Groves (234.5) and Mike Giustiniano (211.9).

Earlier, Repacholi qualified for the final with an impressive score of 569 – six shots ahead of Groves (563).

Repacholi attended the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games without returning home with a medal and, if he wins selection for Tokyo, is hellbent on adding to Australia’s medal tally.

Repacholi indicated that he would retire after winning the men’s 10m Air Pistol gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, but the lure of another Olympics proved to be too powerful.

“I’m not spending all this time away from my beautiful wife and kids just to get another tracksuit,” said Repacholi.

“I’ve got enough of them. I want to win and stand on the dais,” he said.

Repacholi said he has been working on ensuring he begins his finals in strong fashion.

“I got away to a good start today but the last few shots weren’t what I was after,” he said.

In the women’s 25m Pistol final, Victoria’s Elena Galiabovitch (28 targets) claimed her second gold medal of the weekend when scoring a comfortable victory ahead of South Australia’s Alison Heinrich (21) and Queensland’s Civon Smith (16).

Galiabovitch won the women’s 10m Air Pistol on Friday and was runner-up in the event yesterday.

Galiabovitch, a 2016 Rio Olympian, qualified for the final in second position after completing the session behind Smith.

The Melbourne doctor, who won the silver medal in the event at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, found the right medicine for the final while Smith was unable to match her qualifying form.

The pistol shooters will contest the next round of the Olympic Games nomination events in Brisbane on March 6, 7 and 8.

Victoria’s Sergei Evglevski took an important first step towards his Olympic dream when winning the gold medal in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire pistol in the Tokyo Olympic Games nomination trials at the Brisbane International Shooting Centre today.

In the first of two Tokyo Olympic Games 25m Rapid Fire Pistol events to be held this weekend, Evglevski recorded 31 points to defeat ACT’s Thomas Ashmore (24 points) with West Australia’s Scott Anderson (18) earning the bronze medal.

Evglevski, who won the silver medal in the event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, is the son of six-time Olympian Lalita Yauhleuskaya and he is aiming to follow in his mother’s sizeable Olympic footsteps.

The final was delayed by two hours because of technical issues and had to be moved to a different site, before there was another 20 minute technical disruption midway through the decider.

“That wasn’t ideal, but you have to deal with things like that. I just tried to forget about it,” said Evglevski.

Evglevski said he felt comfortable in the final and used motivational phrases to maintain his concentration.

“I told myself to be tougher and push harder,” he said. “But I think I lost focus after the second interruption.”

Evglevski fired a world class qualifying score of 583 points out of a possible 600, including consecutive rounds of 98, 99 and 98 out of 100 in the second stage.

“I wasn’t nervous, but I didn’t think my attitude was right in the first half of qualifying,” he said.

Earlier, Victoria’ Elena Galiabovitch, a 2016 Olympian and a 2018 Commonwealth Games silver and bronze medallist, claimed the women’s 10m Air Pistol in a dominant display.

Although qualifying second behind three-time Olympian, Queensland’s Dina Aspandiyarova, Galiabovitch was untroubled when registering 239.3 points to outshoot NSW’s Dannielle Moleman (235) and Aspandiyarova (212).

The highlight of Galiabovitch’s performance was a perfect 10.9 with six shots remaining.

Aspandiyarova seemed certain to earn the silver medal but fired a score of 8.2 with her second last shot.

Moleman jumped ahead of her with a brilliant 10.6 to avoid elimination and go into the race for the gold medal but was unable to overhaul.