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ISSF World Cup Baku 2024: Kim Yeji sets new world record in 25m pistol women

Published at :May 10, 2024 at 5:27 PM
Modified at :May 10, 2024 at 5:27 PM
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Korean sharpshooter outshines teammate Yang Jiin with stunning 42-hit performance.

Republic of Korea’s Kim Yeji set a world record of 42 in taking 25m pistol women gold at the ISSF World Cup Baku 2024, beating the total of 41 which her team-mate Yang Jiin set in January and equalled earlier this week.

Kim, 31, (pictured) won 10m air rifle women silver on the second day of this World Cup but then failed to reach the first of the two scheduled 25m pistol finals on Tuesday having finished 26th in qualifying.

Her performance in the second version was dramatically different as she won an extended contest with her 22-year-old compatriot, who eventually settled for silver on 38.

Germany’s 28-year-old Josefin Eder, who won her first major individual medal – a gold – at last month’s Final Olympic Qualifier in Rio, added a second bronze to the one she claimed in the first 25m pistol final at Azerbaijan’s Olympic Shooting Range, finishing one place ahead of her team-mate Doreen Vennekamp.

The two Korean athletes fought an intense private battle for gold, with Kim taking over the lead after the third stage and extending it to two hits after six of the ten series of five shots.

A perfect sequence for Yang in series seven saw her draw level at 28-28 as her elder opponent missed twice, and the scores were soon at 33-33 as both realised a maximum score in series eight.

Who would blink first? It turned out to be Yang, who scored only two in her penultimate series as Kim maintained her perfect progress.

With the score at 38-35, Kim went into the final series knowing that four hits would make her the new world-record holder. After three shots she had levelled Yang’s existing mark. Her fourth effort – was a miss. Could she claim the honour with her final shot? She could.

After so many days at this World Cup where Chinese athletes have earned the main plaudits, the Republic of Korea, thanks to these two remarkable talents, had another day to remember.

While China is beyond range at the top of the medals table, with a total of 16 including five golds, the Republic of Korea is second with six medals, of which three are gold, with Germany third on a total of four.

Vennekamp, having sat out the first of the 25m pistol events because of her packed schedule, had managed to secure the eighth and last place in the final after another hugely competitive qualification process where China’s Nan Zhao, silver medallist in this event on Tuesday, missing the cut by one place.

The ISSF female Athlete of the Year, who equalled the then world record of 40 as she earned her first world title on this range in 2023, held off the challenge of the Hungarian athlete who set that mark in 2019, Veronika Major, to avoid going out in fifth place.

But she was beaten to the podium by her team-mate.

Sixth place went to Iran’s Haniyeh Rostamiyan, with Austria’s 42-year-old Sylvia Steiner, who had topped qualifying on 588, finishing seventh and Spain’s Maria Soto, appearing in her first major individual final, taking eighth place.

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A second set of finals in the 25m pistol women, 25m rapid fire men and 50m rifle 3 positions for men and women were scheduled for Baku to ensure athletes in all events had an equal number of opportunities to gain Olympic Qualifying ranking points.

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