Dina and Sergei bound for Tokyo Olympics after gold medal wins

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.

Shooting Australia