Invoking the spirit of Bob Braithwaite, guided by the memories of Ian Peel and building on the dreams and various successes of British Olympians in between, Ed Ling won bronze in incredible fashion in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games.
He shot superbly in qualifying to finish with 120ex-125 in second place and started well in the semi-final stage. Ed struggled slightly in the second half of the first 15, but held his nerve to force a shoot-off for a place in the bronze medal match against Ahmed Kamar.
With barely enough time to catch his breath, Ed had to step back out on to the shooting line against a proven winner in Czechia’s David Kostelecky. On the first target out, Ed faced disaster, he missed. But he quickly steadied his nerves, while David, who’d hit his first clay, started to unravel. David never built any momentum while Ed continued to shoot well and missed just one more to finish in third, beating the Czech 13-9.
In the gold-medal match, Giovanni Pellielo and Josip Glasnovic squared off, the men who finished first in qualifying and joint second, respectively. In the semi-final Josip shot 15-straight and Giovanni missed just one, and the Italian, with two Olympic silver medals and a bronze to his name already, really wanted to bank a gold. It was a dramatic back-and-forth with both dropping targets they’ve hit thousands of times before until they sat at 11 each. Sudden-death was required but on his fourth target, Giovanni missed, and as he stepped back to let David shoot, he removed the blinders on his glasses, knowing that the Croatian wouldn’t pass up the opportunity.