World champion Olena Kostevych of Ukraine won the gold medal in the women's 10-metres air pistol competition after outduelling 1988 gold medallist Jasna Sekaric of Serbia and Montenegro in a shoot-off.

Kostevych had started the finals in eighth place after a disappointing qualifying round before steadily working her way towards the top in a finals that was marked at-times by erratic shooting from most of the field in the indoor Olympic venue.

"This is the most important moment of my life," said Kostevych, a 19-year-old student. "This is the final product of a long-term effort."  She moved into the lead on the penultimate shot but was caught again by Sekaric, who had the best qualifying round, on the final round, forcing the one-shot shoot-off.

Kostevych and Sekaric both finished with 483.3 points. In the shoot-off, Sekaric quickly picked up her pistol and fired without delay to score a solid 9.4.

But Kostevych took her time, staring for a long moment at the target as the crowd went silent before firing a bullseye. Her score of 10.2 was more than enough for the gold medal and a giant smile erupted on the face of the Ukrainian woman.

"I didn't know which position I was in - I was just trying to do my best," said Kostevych of her strong rally through the field.

Maria Grozdeva of Bulgaria also showed nerves of steel by winning the bronze medal with 482.3 points following a shoot-off for third place with China's Ren Jie. Grozdeva got a 10.4 in the shoot-off compared to Ren's 9.7.
Defending Olympic champion Tao Luna failed to reach the finals and finished a disappointing 38th.

Filed by James Boylan