BEIJING - The phenomenal Swedish shooter Jonas Jacobsson rocked the Beijing Shooting Range Hall once again on Friday by grasping his third gold at the Paralympics, which was his personal 16th.
Sweden`s Jonas Jacobsson shoots during the final for the mixed R-6 50 mm free rifle Prone SH1 shooting competition at the Paralympic Games in Beijing Friday, Sept. 12, 2008. Jacobson won the gold medal. [Agencies]
As always, his Jacobsson-styled victory seemed not too difficult, as the 43-year-old left-handed riflist on wheelchair topped throughout the final of mixed 50-meter free rifle prone SH1, after acquiring a leading 592 points from the qualification round.
With five of the ten shots above or equalling 10 point, the eight-time Paralympian achieved a highest 103.8 points from the final. His total score was 695.8 points, about three points ahead of the silver medalist, Chinese Zhang Cuiping, and 6.5 points more than Dong Chao, another Chinese who nailed down the bronze.
"I had some difficulties in the qualification round, but in the final I did a good job," said the man who waved both fists to cheering and flag-wielding spectators after the competition as his own brand of celebration.
His coach Anders Sundell said, "He is super. He is probably the best disabled shooter in the world."
The old man made no efforts to conceal his pride. "He knows more about shooting than most of the people. He came here to take part in four events and got three gold medals. It is amazing."
On Monday, the shooter who raked in all four gold he was after in Athens started his gold spree by winning the men`s 10-meter air rifle standing competition, improving both the qualification record and the total with 596 and 700.5 points.
Two days later, he once again stunned spectators by improving two more world records in men`s 50-meter free rifle three positions, with 1163 points from the qualification round and 1264.3 in total.
On Friday, however, the shooter failed to advance into the final of mixed 10-meter air rifle prone, although his score, 598 points, was just two points behind the leading finalist.
"I had a little problem to focus," he said, "I went back too late the day before and got up late the next morning," he recalled.
Talking about his past experience, the joyful shooter said he had troubles sometimes as well, citing the experience in the 1981 European Championships in Vienna.
"I did very bad in the final," he said, "I was so angry with the score that in the last shot, I didn`t even aim."
It was a 7.
After the competition, the dissatisfied shooter threw his gun to the ground, before he later learned the scores of other finalists.
In fact, everybody performed poorly at that time and he just needed a moderate 9 to win the silver.
Then he came to realized something: never give up.
"If you did bad, others could be bad also," he said.
When he was competing on Friday, he wore a ring on his left hand.
"I am engaged," confessed the shooter with happiness. But when asked about his Miss Right, Jacobsson shook his head. "It`s confidential."
Looking into the future, the man said he hasn`t decided whether to continue competing four years later or not.
"It depends on whether I can keep the fire burning inside and if I could get sponsorship," he said.
If Jonas Jacobsson is the biggest individual winner of the Paralympic shooting events, the team with biggest harvest should be South Korean, which was loaded with four gold medals, three silver and two bronze.
One gold and one silver were achieved from the event of mixed 50-meter free pistol SH1 on Friday afternoon, in which 37-year-old Park Sea-Kyun improved the world record by 3.7 points to 644.9, and the Paralympic record by a staggering 14.5. His teammate, 36-year-old Lee Ju-Hee came from behind to snatch the silver with 630.1.
"I cannot believe that and I am very happy," said the champion, "from the first competition day I have been suffering from heavy burden. Today I am relieved of all the pressure finally."
Lee congratulated his teammate and said, "If you are confident, you can do it. So just work on."