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Aussie Shooter Wins Olympic Gold

September 17, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Michael Diamond cried Sunday. But it wasn’t simply because he had just won his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in trap shooting.

``This was for Dad,″ Diamond said.

The Australian athlete’s father, Con Diamond, also a shooter, died earlier this year when Peter was returning from a World Cup event in Europe. His father had financed his career and was a major influence in his life.

``I was thinking of my father, wishing he could have been here,″ Diamond said Sunday. ``I didn’t know how I’d go without him behind me at such a big event, my first major event without him.″

Diamond ended with a score of 147 and was 25-for-25 in the final. He also had a perfect score in the qualifying Saturday.

Ian Peel of Britain was second with 142, followed by Giovanni Pellielo of Italy with 140.

Lance Bade of Vancouver, Wash., who won the bronze medal in Atlanta, failed to recover from a poor first day and finished in a tie for 16th.

Diamond’s good friend Mark Russell was expected to challenge for the medal, but failed to make the final. Russell was the gold medalist in the men’s double trap at Atlanta and is among the favorites in that event later this week.

Russell was just 22nd after the first day. Although he rallied to 13th on the second day, he did not qualify for the six-man final.

In the women’s 10-meter air pistol completed earlier in the day, Tao Luna of China started strong with an Olympic mark in qualifying and went on to take the gold medal.

Tao tied the Olympic mark with a qualifying score of 390 and won with 488.2 points. Jasna Sekavic of Yugoslavia won the silver with 486.5 points and Annemarie Forder of Australia scored 484 to take the bronze.

Dina Aspandiyarova of Kazakstan was a surprise qualifier, shooting a perfect 100 in the third round to secure third place for the final. She finished sixth with 483.7 points.

World finals record-holder Ren Jie of China failed to make the finals, as did World Cup winner Lolita Evglevskaya of Belarus.

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