Tokyo Olympics: Blunder as Ukrainian shoots opponent’s target

Headshot of Rory Coleman-Heard
Rory Coleman-HeardThe West Australian
Serhiy Kulish shot at the wrong target.
Camera IconSerhiy Kulish shot at the wrong target. Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A Ukrainian shooter has made one of the more remarkable blunders in recent Olympic history - shooting at his opponent’s target.

Serhiy Kulish, the 10m air rifle silver medallist in Rio and world No. 2 had cruised into the 50m air rifle final and was well-placed in fourth with 30 shots fired when his promising campaign capitulated.

Kulish fired at the wrong target, receiving zero points.

He was later eliminated in eighth having entered the event with high hopes of standing on the podium.

A frank self-appraisal followed.

“I am not happy,” Kulish fumed. “Who shoots someone else’s target? Only people like me.”

Kulish blamed the mishap on a wardrobe malfunction, which caused him to lose concentration just before shooting.

“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 I was aiming at someone else’s target,” he said.


In consequence, the 28-year-old became the first competitor in the final to bow out of medal contention.

China’s Zhang Changhong won gold, Russian Olympic Committee representative Sergey Kamenskiy claimed silver and Serbian Milenko Sebic took out bronze.

Kulish, had he medalled, would have defied the shortcomings in Ukraine’s national shooting program, which lacks facilities suitable for Olympic hopefuls.

“We have to go abroad to train and that is a problem,” Kulish said.

“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.

“There is no place to hold competitions or grow new athletes and that is a problem.”

Ukraine has so far claimed one silver medal and five bronze medals in Tokyo.

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