The Ukrainian shooter Serhiy Kulish missed out on a medal after committing one of the most extraordinary howlers at the Tokyo Olympics by hitting an opponent’s target.
Kulish, who won silver in the 10m air rifle event at Rio 2016, had sailed into Monday’s men’s 50m rifle final and was pushing for the podium when disaster struck. In fourth place with 30 shots fired, Kulish mistakenly fired at a rival’s target. After receiving zero points for the shot, he was soon eliminated in eighth place.
“I shot into someone else’s target,” Kulish fumed after his early exit at the Asaka Shooting Range. “I am not happy. Who shoots into someone else’s target? Only people like me.”
The world No 2 said a wardrobe malfunction was behind his lapse in concentration. “The button on my jacket came undone and I felt some discomfort, but time passed and I had to make a shot,” Kulish explained. “I didn’t notice that I was already aiming for someone else’s target.”
China’s Zhang Changhong won gold with a world-record 466.0 points, with Sergey Kamenskiy (Russian Olympic Committee) and Milenko Sebic (Serbia) taking silver and bronze respectively.
Kulish will return empty-handed to Cherkasy, a small city 120km south-east of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. The 28-year-old believes the lack of facilities back home have affected his country’s medal hopes in shooting. “We don’t have a shooting range and that is a problem,” he said. “We have to go abroad to train and that is a problem. For now there is no solution.”
Kulish added: “I have a shooting range in my city, but it only has five targets so it is impossible to hold competitions there. There is no place to hold competitions [or] grow new athletes and that is a problem.”