Commonwealth Games 2014: Dan Rivers fires Games shooting record but loses in shoot-out agony

Elena Allen, a Muscovite who married Welsh shooter Malcolm Allen, settling in Newport, held her nerve to win a shoot-off against England’s Sarah Gray for a place in the gold-medal match

Carnoustie

Carnoustie has not known a day of shoot-out drama quite like it since 1999, when the Frenchman Jean van de Velde fluffed a three-shot lead at the 18th hole of the Open and proceeded to lose to Aberdonian Paul Lawrie in a three-way play-off.

The celebrated golf town might be far from the madding crowds of Glasgow – 100 miles both literally and metaphorically from the host city of these XX Commonwealth Games, with its hallowed links course and its tranquil setting on the Angus coast – but it could hardly have witnessed more drama on the opening day of the shooting competition yesterday.

It was a day when England beat England in one shoot-out; when another representative in England kit won one shoot-off but lost another, all in the same match; and when a Moscow-born Welshwoman won a shoot-off to claim her adopted country’s third medal of the Games.

The latter scenario unfolded in the final of the women’s skeet. Elena Allen, a Muscovite who married Welsh shooter Malcolm Allen, settling in Newport, held her nerve to win a shoot-off against England’s Sarah Gray for a place in the gold-medal match.

 

In that the 42-year-old missed only three of her 16 shots but her opponent, Australia’s Laura Coles, hit one more. “I’m happy with silver,” Allen said. “A medal is a medal. If you only get into the bronze-medal match, one of you walks away with nothing.”

Gray was left with that empty feeling after losing out on bronze to Andri Eleftheriou of Cyprus and finishing a tantalising fourth. Still, at least she made it to the final, emerging victorious from a three-way shoot-off for the sixth and last final spot.

After Panagiota Andreou of Cyprus missed with her third effort, that came down to a shoot-out between Gray and her England team-mate Amber Hill, the 16-year-old wunderkind from Bracknell, who last year followed in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney, Tom Daley and Andy Murray as BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

Hill travelled to Scotland with high hopes of finishing among the medals but missed one of the clays with her fifth effort. “I’m please I at least had a shot at making the final,” the teenager said. “I’m sure I’ll learn from this experience.”

There was one medal for England’s shooters – from the roller-coaster ride of the men’s 10m air rifle.

Didcot’s Dan Rivers shot a Games-record score of 623.6 points in qualifying, then found himself in a shoot-off with Ravi Kumar of India to make the top three in the final. The Oxfordshire man scored a 10.1. Kumar fired a 9.6.

Then, with silver at stake, Rivers tied for second place with Abdullah Baki of Bangaladesh. In the one-shot shoot-off he fired a 9.4, his rival 9.8.

Still, at least the Englishman hit the target. Unlike GarethSouthgate, he would not be doing Pizza Hut adverts with a paper bag over his head. He had bronze for consolation, Baki taking silver and India’s Abhinav Bindra gold.

“It’s not often you get shoot-offs,” Rivers reflected. “One today was enough. To get a second was just mental.

“As soon as you see it coming up on the screen that you’re tied, your heart rate just goes up even more. You don’t think your heart can go any faster, but it does. You just pick your timing, go between the beats, and do your best.

“We try and put pressure training on against each other, shooting against the clock, but it’s not on this kind of scale. This is like a penalty shoot-out in front of a fully packed stadium.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'