Ukrainian shooter shoots rival’s target at Tokyo 2020 Olympics after being distracted by jacket button

While eventual winner Zhang Changhong of China led the eight-shooter group in the final, Kulish, who was placed fourth after 30 shots, wasn't too far at this point from bringing home a medal.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 3 August 2021 5:50 pm

World number two Serhiy Kulish committed one of the most extraordinary blunders ever witnessed inside a Shooting Range as he hit an opponent's target instead of his own. Consequently, he was eliminated as he received zero points for his attempt but had only himself to blame. The Ukrainian shooter had eased into the men's 50-metre rifle 3 positions finals on Monday and was chasing his second Olympic medal after bagging the 10m air rifle silver in Rio 2016.

While eventual winner Zhang Changhong of China led the eight-shooter group in the final, Kulish, who was placed fourth after 30 shots, wasn't too far at this point from bringing home a medal. However, it was the seventh series when he had a nightmare come true moment. Kulish aimed and shot at the rival's target and became the first of the eight shooters to get eliminated after his 35th shot fetched him zero points.

Although winning and losing are part and parcel of the sport, the manner in which it all unfolded was far from the path he would have wanted to walk on.

Only people like me shoot into someone else's target: Kulish

"I shot into someone else’s target," the 28-year-old said later as quoted in a Reuters report.

"I am not happy. Who shoots into someone else’s target? Only people like me."

He went on to reveal how it was his jacket button that distracted him and led to the howler.

"The button on my jacket came undone and I felt some discomfort, but time passed and I had to make a shot so I didn’t notice that I was already aiming for someone else’s target," he said.

We have to go abroad to train, reveals the Ukrainian shooter

The elimination comes as a huge setback to medal hopes of the shooter from Ukraine who had very limited opportunities for training heading into the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"We don’t have a shooting range and that is a problem. We have to go abroad to train and that is a problem. For now, there is no solution. I have a shooting range in my city, but it only has five targets so it is impossible to hold competitions there," he said.

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