Australian shooting athlete Danielle Moleman produced a giant upset winning the gold medal with a borrowed pistol in the women’s 10m Air Pistol final at the Oceania Championships at the Sydney International Shooting Centre today.
A late inclusion in the Australian A team replacing Elena Galiabovitch, Moleman (238.1 points) shot superbly and held her nerve when defeating Australia’s three-time Olympian Dina Aspandiyarova (232.2) by a commanding 5.9 points with New Zealand’s Kayla Aylward claiming the bronze medal.
Moleman, a mother of three from Wentworth Falls in Sydney’s Blue Mountains, was ranked in bottom placed sixth position for the final after hindered by a pistol malfunction in the morning qualification round.
Borrowing a pistol from Australian team-mate Damien Dowling, Moleman commenced the final in blazing fashion averaging 10 points per shot in the first two rounds.
In contrast, Aspandiyarova struggled for accuracy and languished 7.1 points behind in fifth position and risked a shock early elimination.
Moleman faltered slightly the third last round to give the chasing Aspandiyarova a glimmer of hope but she finished confidently in the final two rounds to claim a decisive victory.
“My pistol just died at the beginning of the qualification round. There was an issue with the air compression, so we just grabbed the nearest available pistol,” said Moleman.
“Damien has massive hands and I had to make other technical adjustments just to be able to shoot with it.
“I was just hoping to win third place so I could take home the toy doll for my two-year old daughter. But I always manage to shoot well in finals,” she added.
However, the victory proved to be bitter sweet for Moleman.
Despite winning the gold medal, Moleman had not registered a Minimum Quota Score (MQS) to be eligible for selection in the Australian team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Both Aspandiyarova and Women’s 25m Womens Pistol gold medallist, Galiabovitch, achieved MQS in qualification and are eligible for Tokyo Games selection for the event.
“It was very unfortunate that I had the problems with my pistol as I believed I would have easily registered an MQS under normal circumstances,” said Moleman.
The next finals, the men’s and women’s 50m Three Position Rifle events, will be held on Thursday.
The Oceania Championships will run from 1 – 9 November at the Sydney International Shooting Centre in Cecil Park NSW. More information is available on the event website. Shooting Australia Facebook and Twitter pages.
Greg Campbell – PRISM Strategics Communications