South Australian teenager Katarina Kowplos has thrown down the gauntlet to her more celebrated rivals when winning the first women’s 10m Air Rifle Olympic Games nomination trial at the Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide today.
Kowplos, who turned 18 last October, upstaged 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games representatives, Tori Rossiter and Emma Adams, after qualifying for the final in third position.
Kowplos shot consistently throughout the final to amass 249.3 points to defeat Rossiter (246.7) by 2.6 points with Adelaide local Holly Robinson (225.4 points) claiming the bronze medal. Adams was relegated to fourth position.
In a world class display, the Golden Grove High School student shot five scores of 10.8 and two perfect scores of 10.9.
“My practice has been really good over the last few months and today was a nice achievement. I was disappointed in my qualifying score, which was three or four points off my average, but I put in an extra effort in the final,” said Kowplos.
With the second of four Olympic nomination events to be held tomorrow, Kowplos was preparing for the next qualifying round by completing her physics and chemistry homework.
“The physics topic I am studying at the moment is projectile motion and the example being used is air rifle pellets, so that is right up my alley,” she added.
While Kowplos earned the gold medal kudos in the final, Rossiter took the lead in the Olympic nomination trial scoreboard after topping the morning qualifying scores.
Rossiter leads with 629.4 points ahead of Kowplos (626.5), Victoria’s Elise Collier (624.0) and Adams (621.5).
In the first men’s 10m Air Rifle nomination final, double Olympian Dane Sampson showed his class to upstage Jack Rossiter and Alex Hoberg, who topped the morning qualifying round with a junior Australian record score.
Sampson, who qualified second for the final, managed a score of 250.5 to be 2.5 points clear of Rossiter (248.0) with Hoberg (227.0) placed third.
“My qualifying score was lower than my average and the final was solid in general,” said Sampson.
Today’s event was the first of four Olympic nomination events for men’s and women’s rifle athletes who are eligible for Olympic selection after previously registering Minimum Quota Scores.
Athletes can drop their worse qualifying score in the race for Olympic team nomination and Sampson is hoping today’s qualifying score of 625.9 will be his lowest score.
“There are three more nomination events so hopefully I will be able to drop today’s score,” he said.
Despite being placed third, Hoberg currently tops the men’s 10m Air Rifle scoreboard with 635.2 points ahead of Sampson (633.9) and Rossiter (632.4).