Suzy Balogh became the first Australian woman to win an Olympic shooting gold medal when she won the trap event in Athens today. Balogh led from the
second round of the women's trap preliminaries and through the final, claiming victory with an overall score of 88, four ahead of her nearest
Spain's Maria Quintanal came second with 84 from a possible 100 targets, while South Korea's Bo Na Lee came third on 83. As she closed in on victory,
Balogh was sucking in deep breaths between shots.
"I just couldn't get enough air," she said.
Balogh, who grew up in Queanbeyan and now lives in Orange, said she was over the moon about the result but was not planning a big celebration
"(I'll celebrate) with a really long sleep," she said.
Balogh drives for four hours between Orange and Queanbeyan to train. Strong winds were battering the Markopoulo shooting venue, with gusts powerful
enough to pick up chairs also playing havoc with the small, saucer-shaped clay targets.
But Balogh said the wind worked in her favour.
"It probably blew a few targets towards me," she said.
Her coach, Greg Chan, said most shooters let windy conditions rattle them but the Australians had been mentally preparing for adverse conditions.
"If it hadn't been windy, it might have been a different story," Chan said.
Balogh, 31, originally took up shooting as a teenager in order to spend more time with her father.
"Thank you, Mum and Dad," she said when asked about their influence on her career.
Balogh's gold follows Australian Adam Vella's bronze in the men's trap shooting event yesterday. Moments after clinching victory Balogh said: "I'm
surprised, it's awesome."
The Australian, an agricultural protection officer, led after qualifying, hitting 66 of a possible 75 as the conditions kept scores down. She followed
that with 22 out of 25 in the final.
Results of Olympic shooting women's trap final:
1. Suzanne Balogh (AUS) 88
2. Maria Quintanal (ESP) 84
3. Lee Bo-na (KOR) 83
4. Whitly Loper (USA) 82
5. Susanne Kiermayer (GER) 79
6. Susan Nattrass (CAN) 76
[Edited on 16/8/04 by TRD]