LONDON – Unbeknown to him, shooter Alin George Moldoveanu produced a rock solid display to claim a surprise victory in the men’s 10 metre air rifle and win Romania’s first gold medal of the London Games today.
The shaven-headed Romanian turned around motionless after he completed his final shot, oblivious to the capacity crowd’s cheers at the Royal Artillery Barracks’ indoor range with his earplugs in.
“No I didn’t know (I had won) I think the Italian coach told me,” Moldoveanu told reporters. “I’m overwhelmed, I cannot describe it in words. It is crazy.”
Moldoveanu was commanding and consistent as he finished with a total of 702.1 points, with Italy’s Niccolo Campriani on 701.5 and Indian Gagan Narang on 701.1.
Expectations for the 29-year-old world number 34 were low after he had done little of note following his fourth place finish at the Beijing Games.
But he finished qualifying in second earlier today with an Olympic record equalling 599 total from the 600 available along with Campriani
The scoring was too tough for defending Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, who could only finish 16th in the 47-man field with a total of 594, three points short of a place in the final.
Moldoveanu, who has a psychology degree, took an early lead in the eight-man final, where shooters fire 10 shots aiming for a maximum score of 10.9 with each.