Keith Sanderson gave the United States its third medal of the ISSF World Cup and Olympic test event in Rio de Janeiro Saturday afternoon, taking the silver medal in men’s rapid fire pistol.
The event’s final featured an impressive array of talent, with all six shooters ranked among the top 15 in the world, each hoping to establish himself as a medal favorite three and a half months from Rio’s Opening Ceremony.
Fifth after the first competition stage with 10 points, Sanderson held on by scoring his first clean round of the final in the first part of the elimination stage, moving into a tie for second with Jean Quiquampoix of France, who is ranked No. 5 in the world. He matched the Frenchman’s four points in the second round of the elimination stage, then vaulted past him in the third round with four points to Quiquampoix’s two.
After the Frenchman survived a shoot-off to break a tie for fourth and remain alive in the competition, he posted five points to put pressure on Sanderson. The American, who entered the event with a No. 12 world ranking, responded with four points to advance to the final round, where he hit four of five to finish with 31 points. Russia’s Alexei Klimov, No. 14 in the world, dominated the final, hitting all five targets in five of the eight rounds on his way to 35 points, equaling the finals world record. Quiquampoix won the bronze with 26 points.
Sanderson earned his Olympic berth in Rio via USA Shooting’s Olympic points system. He will compete in his third Games after placing 14th in London in 2012 and fifth in Beijing in 2008. He now holds a total of 10 world cup medals (two golds, four silvers, four bronzes), as well as a world championship bronze (team competition, 2010) and a silver from the 2007 Pan American Games, which were held in the same venue the competition was held Saturday.
Emil Milev also competed in rapid fire pistol Saturday, finishing 18th in qualifying with a score of 578.
Sanderson’s silver was the second of the afternoon for the United States, along with Kim Rhode’s silver in women’s skeet. Glenn Eller won a bronze medal in men’s double trap earlier in the week.