KUWAIT CITY - Pulling off her gloves, the slender girl with a ponytail kept a straight face while announced runner-up in women's 50-meter rifle three positions.
Had she scored 10.2 points, 25-year-old Du Li from China would catch her first three positions gold in international events, although she had raked in numerous medals in 10-meter air rifle and was recognized as world No.1 of the discipline.
"I had been expecting a success in three positions so much," she said. "Without a chance in the last two years, I really wanted to do well this time."
Du made her name by creating a world record of women's 10-meter air rifle with 104.9 points at the World Cup Zagreb Fort. The gold medal she later obtained at the Athens Olympic Games further posed her in limelights.
However, few people know that Du, who picked up 50-meter rifles only in August last year, had collected 594 points in women's 50-meter rifle three positions during trainings, a score equalling the world record held by German markswoman Sonja Pfeilschifter.
"I thought myself good at both events in 2002 when I was just accepted by the national shooting squad," she said. "But it was too tiring for a shooter to grow as balance and I thus focused on air rifle."
In the competition finished on Thursday, Du mounted the champion platform of 10-meter air rifle again with an easy win of 503.7 points.
The competition left her some regret, as the girl from East China's Shandong Province needed only a 10.6 point in the last shot, a score seemed easy to her, to improve the world record she held.
Du got a 9.3.
The nightmare recurred in her sitzkrieg against Uzbekstan debutant Elena Kuznetsova at women's 50-meter rifle three positions on Saturday.
Kuznetsova finished her qualification round as the second with 579 points. Du was ranked fourth with 576.
In the ten-shot final, Kuznetsova didn't do well in the first several shots, whereas Du was chasing hotly with 10.4, 10.4, 10.7 and 10.4 points.
Although Kuznetsova restored her sharpness in the fifth shot to collected a highest of 10.8 points, later a 9.2 point in the eighth shot pulled her behind Du Li.
When it came to the ninth shot, Kuznetsova scored a decent 10.1, Du only got 9.8. This posed the duo in a draw.
In the important final shot, Kuznetsova got another 10.1, while Du seemed out of gear to end with a lowest 9.4.
"My score in the qualification round is too low," said the disappointed girl.
Du's qualification scores in prone, standing and kneeling were 198, 191 and 187 points. Her total score was 677.6 points.
"I spent too much time on the prone and standing parts, leaving no time for the kneeling, which I am in fact good at," she frowned.
Normally, it takes her an hour to perform in the kneeling part. But after she finished the previous two sections this time, only half an hour was left.
"Anyway, I did my best," Du put on a smile.
Ranked the third in the Chinese shooting squad, Du is likely to compete during the Olympic Games in both events.
"I believe that I have the capacity, so that I should give full play to my potential," she said.