TOKYO (Reuters) -Jiri Liptak led a Czech one-two in the men’s trap after prevailing in a shoot-off, while Zuzana Rehak-Stefecekova sparked celebrations in Slovakia by winning the women’s gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Liptak and 2008 Beijing champion David Kostelecky exchanged amused smiles after finding themselves in a stalemate with both having shot 43 of the 50 targets in the final.
Liptak had topped the qualification round missing one target, and the 39-year-old carried that red-hot form into the shoot-off.
Kostelecky missed his seventh target to settle for silver as the team mates hugged, laughed and sat down together on the spot at the shotgun range strewn with shattered clay targets.
“I still kind of don’t realise that I am the Olympic champion, but it feels good,” Liptak said, calling it “icing on the cake” for the Czechs.
“He is my long-time friend. We have been training for several years together. It is great for me to learn from him,” he said of 46-year-old Kostelecky, now a veteran of six Olympics.
“It was our big wish to stand next to each other on the podium and it happened here. It is huge.”
World and European champion Matthew Coward-Holley of Britain won the bronze.
Athens Olympic champion Alexey Alipov and Rio winner Josip Glasnovic did not make the final.
Earlier, 37-year-old Stefecekova won the women’s trap gold after a dominating display of marksmanship over the last two days at the Asaka Shooting Range.
A silver medallist at the Beijing and London Games, Stefecekova had hit all 125 targets to storm into the final, where she shot 43 out of 50, one more than American Kayle Browning, who settled for the silver.
“It’s a perfect feeling because I made 125 out of 125 in the qualifications so I was really happy,” Stefecekova said, admitting she had been inconsistent in past finals.
“This one was the better one and I’m very happy that it’s the gold medal at the end.”
Browning, 29, said winning the silver was the “pinnacle” of her career but she was still chasing gold.
“She is always a tough competitor, I knew that (getting) multiple misses wasn’t likely for her,” she said of Stefecekova.
Alessandra Perilli was justified in celebrating her bronze as if it were gold, having won San Marino’s first ever Olympic medal in Tokyo.
She nearly reached the milestone at the 2012 London Games where she eventually finished fourth.
“During the final, when the fifth shooter went out, I thought, I don’t want to be one more time in fourth place, so I have to make it,” said the 33-year-old.
“This is the first medal for me and for my country. We are a small country but very proud.”
World number one Fatima Galvez of Spain and London Games champion Jessica Rossi of Italy did not get through the qualifying round.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Peter Rutherford/Hugh Lawson/Ken Ferris)