KUWAIT CITY - Pan Qiang, who just presented China an Olympic quota place in men's doubles trap by winning in the event at the 11th Asian Shooting Championships here on Sunday, viewed the victory calmly.
China's Pan Qing receives an embrace from his coach after winning the men's doubles trap at the the 11th Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait City December 9, 2007. [Xinhua]
"Now that the competition is over, it's time to forget it and return to the starting line," said the 22-year-old boy who just fired in international competition finals for the second time.
From East China's Shandong Province, Pan entered the final with 142 hits in the qualification round, the same score as his teammate Wang Zheng and one hit behind Saif Alshamsy from the United Arab Emirates.
In the first pair of the final, Alshamsy missed one and drew with the Chinese duo.
After Wang Zheng's lapse, another miss of the arabic marksman in the ninth pair gave Pan a chance, but the boy lost it soon in the next pair.
In the 16th pair, Alshamsy missed one again. Pan led among the six finalists.
Alshamsy's fourth miss occurred at the 23th pair.
While Pan raised his gun for the 24th shot, he was cautioned by the judge to toe the limiting line. Stepping back a bit, he fired, but hit only one bird.
Fortunately, a good ending with both hits of the last pair secured him the crown.
"After I finished the competition, I looked back, seeing my coach smiling. I knew that I got another quota place for China in this event," said the champion.
Pan noted that he has great pressure competing in the shooting range, especially in the next-to-last pair, when his pace was disrupted by the accident.
"When I aimed for the last pair, my hands were shaking," he said, "I know that I am going to win, if I could down them both."
The first time Pan shot in the final of international events was in the Lonato Fort of World Cup in Shotgun this past June, when he had a near miss with the quota place by finishing fifth.
"This time my luck is good," he said. "We have made plans for competing in windy days, but today is sunny."
Fighting shoulder by shoulder with his teammate Wang Zheng helped ease his nervousness. "Realizing that he is standing next to me, I was reassured."
Zhang Huiqun, a coach with the national team who had been pacing anxiously outside the shooting range, dashed towards the boy after the final, taking his gun and giving him a big hug.
The waiting Sun rose up from his chair, letting out a sigh and patted Pan's sun-tanned face gently as praise.
"I had been worried for him after the judge's caution, for fear it would disrupt his performance, but he managed to tide over," said Sun smilingly.
"This kid is a good shooter, as pure as a piece of white paper and always confident in competitions," he said.
It is still undecided whether Pan would show up in the Olympic arena.
Currently he was ranked fifth in the national squad in the discipline.
On top of the list was Hu Binyuan, who brought back to China the first quota place in men's double trap from the World Cup Surl Fort.
After Hu was Wang Nan, Asian Games gold medalist who was ranked seventh in the qualification round this time and failed to dart into the final. His advantage against Pan Qiang is not distinctive.
Therefore, theoretically speaking, Pan still has the chance to compete in the Olympics.
But the quiet boy didn't seem to care about this too much.
"I got this quota place for my country," he said. "My task is to do my best in each competition."