World number two Serhiy Kulish left the Asaka Shooting Range and cursed himself after committing one of the most extraordinary shelves at the Tokyo Olympics – hitting an opponent’s goal.
The Ukrainian shooter had sailed into Monday’s final of the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event chasing another Olympic medal to go with his 10m air rifle silver in Rio five years ago.
While eventual winner Zhang Changhong of China led the eight-shooter group for much of the final, Kulish hovered in fourth place after 30 shots initially around the medal console.
His nightmare unfolded in the seventh series when he shot at a rival, and was soon the first of the eight shooters eliminated after his 35th shot was deemed worthless.
More than his expulsion, the shooter rang the way it happened.
“I shot into someone else’s goal,” the 28-year-old smoked.
“I’m not happy. Who’s shooting at someone else’s goal? Only people like me.”
Kulish knows at least what caused the loss of his concentration.
“The button on my jacket was regretted and I felt some discomfort, but time passed and I had to make a shot so I did not notice that I was already aiming at someone else’s target.”
It was a massive setback for the medal hopes of the Cherkasy shooter, who has had limited training opportunities en route to the Tokyo Games.
“We do not have a shooting range and that is a problem. We’re going abroad to train and that’s a problem. So far, there is no solution, ”he said.
“I have a shooting range in my city, but it only has five targets, so it is impossible to hold competitions there.
“There is no place to hold competitions; there is no place to train new athletes and that is a problem, ”Kulish added.