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Asian Games: Golden oldies light up the ranges

Two veteran sharpshooters in their 40s stood up for the older generation on the shooting ranges, leaving younger competitors behind in the Asian Games on Friday.

Asian Games: Golden oldies light up the ranges

Incheon: Two veteran sharpshooters in their 40s stood up for the older generation on the shooting ranges, leaving younger competitors behind in the Asian Games on Friday.

Qatar`s Russian-born Oleg Engachev, who turns 47 next month, won the men`s 25 centre fire pistol gold medal and Olga Dovgun of Kazakhstan, 44, took away the strenous women`s 50m rifle 3 positions title with her final shot.

China`s young shooters, however, continued to dominate, winning four of the six titles on Friday to take their tally to 22 golds after 36 events in the 44-gold competition.

Hosts South Korea have seven golds, Kazakhstan and Qatar two each and India, Iran, and Mongolia one each.

Engachev won a thrilling centre fire pistol final where he finished level on 585 points with favourite Jin Yongde of China, but clinched the gold due to higher number of shots (23 to 21) in the inner 10s.

Gai Bin of Singapore bagged the bronze just a point behind on 584.

Jing however ensured the team gold for China with compatriots Li Chuanlin and Ding Feng. India won the silver and the Korean men picked up the bronze.

"Who says old people can`t shoot, I just did," Engachev said. "More than any other sport, shooting is a lot about how you perform on the day that counts."

Dovgun, who won golds in the separate 50m rifle prone event at the Asian Games in 2002 and 2006, soaked in the pressure to take the 3 positions title from Jeong Mi-Ra of South Korea by firing a 10 with her last shot.

A veteran of five Asian Games, Dovgun finished with 456.4 points, one ahead of Jeong, whose last shot of 8.4 took her score to 455.5. Chang Jin of China claimed the bronze.

The shooters start the 3 positions event kneeling for the first three shots, then lying prone on the ground for the next three before delivering their final shots standing.

Dovgun, who loves to read and knit, is coached by her husband Vitaly, a former shooter himself who is always by her side in major competitions. The couple have a son and a daughter.

"This is a tough event, so to win an Asian Games gold medal is very pleasing," Dovgun said. "I think there is still some shooting left in me."

Dovgun also won a bronze in the team event with her young compatriots Alexandra Malinovskaya, 24, and Yelizaveta Lunina, 20, with the gold going to China and the silver to the hosts.

Teenage shooting stars have left their mark at the Games, led by 18-year-old men`s 10m air rifle champion Yang Haoran.

Iran`s 18-year-old Najmeh Khedmati won the women`s 10m air rifle event in a field that included reigning world and Olympic champion Yi Siling of China, who finished fifth.

China`s shooting coach Zhao Junmin said it was a "growing trend" for the average age of shooters to come down. He said this meant there was a greater onus on giving cultural and psychological education to young athletes.

Korean student Kim Cheong-Yong, just 17, took the men`s 10m air pistol title ahead of his hero and compatriot, Olympic and world champion Jin Jong-Oh, and former Olympic gold medallist Pang Wei of China.

China swept the women`s 10m running target event as Li Xue Yan defeated compatriot Su Li in the individual final after they had take the team title.

Hang Nguyen of Vietnam won the bronze.