With teammate's help, inconsolable shooter regroups in time to win bronze
After the qualification stage for the 10-meter air pistol mixed team event ended Saturday morning here in China, South Korean shooter Kim Bo-mi was inconsolable.
Kim and her teammate Lee Won-ho had just combined to shoot 574 points out of a maximum 600 in the qualification round, putting them in fourth place. South Korea reached one of two bronze medal matches, while the top two teams, India and China, advanced to the gold medal match.
South Korea finished only two points back of China in the qualification round, and Kim felt it was her fault that South Korea came up short.
In her three series, each made up of 10 shots, Kim went 95-93-96. That 93 in the middle series hurt, as did the 8 she hit with her final shot in the third series.
"I made such a huge mistake at the end. We could have gone to the gold medal match otherwise," Kim said. "I didn't shoot nearly as well as I could have. I was so devastated, and so I cried just a bit."
Lee told a different version of the story. He claimed that Kim "cried so much" that he tried so hard to calm her down. Lee is the more outgoing and playful one of the two, and he channeled his inner clown to get Kim to laugh.
Their coach also had to step in to make sure the two shooters would be mentally ready for the bronze medal match against Japan, scheduled just about an hour later.
Kim did just that, and more than made up for her poor performance earlier in the day with a strong showing to earn the bronze medal.
Scoring was different in the final than in the qualification, with a maximum 10.9 points per shot. Shooters each fired a shot in a given series, and the team with the higher combined score earned two points. The first to 16 is the winner, and South Korea beat Japan 16-8.
South Korea finished off Japan with their 12th shot. Kim scored 10.1 points or better with four of her dozen shots in the match.
"I knew I didn't have much time to stay down on myself," Kim said. "I think I got to redeem myself a bit in the medal match."
Kim, 24, made her Olympic debut in Tokyo two years ago but this was her first Asian Games.
"I wanted a better result than this. I am sorry to Won-ho that I didn't get it done here," Kim said. "But we promised each other we'll do better on a bigger stage next year. We'll get to compete at more major events like this down the road, so we'll keep at it."
Kim said Lee, about 10 months her junior, is "the best partner I've had in my time with the national team." The downside is they always have their backs to each other, because Kim shoots right-handed and Lee shoots left-handed.
"It'd be nice to be able to make eye contact with him during competitions," Kim said. "I think it could help me get settled down and shake off nerves if we can see each other's faces. Other than that, I enjoy competing with him. Even though he is younger, I lean on him quite a bit."
Lee chimed in, "With Bo-mi, we always win and lose together. Today was one of our better days." (Yonhap)