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Shooter Gives Country First-Ever Medal In Olympics

July 25, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Slovakia, which declared its independence from Czechoslovakia three years ago, Thursday captured its first Olympic medal as Jozef Gonci took the bronze in men’s free rifle prone position.

``I am very proud because it will be part of my country’s history,″ Gonci said.

Gonci scored 701.9 points, three points above his personal best. It was fewer than three points behind gold medalist Christian Klees’ world record score of 704.8. Sergei Beliaev of Kazakstan won the silver with 703.3 points.

``I would still be very happy if I had not won because it is my best (score) and a Slovakian record that I shot,″ he said.

Gonci’s coach, Anton Belak, said the medal will affect all sports in Slovakia.

``It’s a very important day for Slovak sports,″ he said.

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