The Chinese National Games lived up to its purpose of nurturing future stars as the country's top multi-sports event opened its shooting competitions with a virtual unknown in the shooting world crowned in the women's 10m air pistol here on Monday.
Che Xiaoting, who has no record on shooting with the world governing body ISSF, claimed the gold medal at the event for the Jiangsu provincial delegation with 238.9 points, surpassing several veterans on the first competition day after the opening ceremony.
London Olympic champion Zhang Mengxue of Shandong province and Beijing gold medalist Chen Ying failed to qualify for the final, while two-time Olympic winner Guo Wenjun of Shaanxi reached the final with a No 2 score but finished just seventh.
Li Tianyan of Yunnan settled for the silver at just 1.7 points shy, and Wang Qian of Shaanxi nailed the bronze medal on 217.5.
"I never imagined I could win the gold, and it feels like I'm dreaming," said the 23-year-old Che, who's taking part in her second National Games.
Che Xiaoting added in a very low and shy voice at the post-match press conference that she got even more nervous about speaking in public than shooting.
"That is shooting; there is always ups and downs. Remember, I still have two events left," said Zhang Mengxue while in a merry mood, playing down her bad performance.
In the men's 50m pistol, Wang Zhiwei of Shanxi defended his title with 227.9 points. Pu Wei of Shandong took the silver on a margin of 1.4 points, while Sun Yang from the PLA ranked third with 207.3 points.
Tan Zongliang of Shandong, 45, who has attended seven consecutive Games since 1993, was the fifth both in the qualifying phase and the final in the men's 50m pistol.
"I'm lucky to make fifth place. After all, I am 45 years old. Shooting, however, is and will be my life pursuit," said.
Cheng Zhipeng of Hubei pocketed the gold medal with 30 hits in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol, followed by Zhang Fusheng of Guangdong with 29 points. The third step of the podium belonged to Hu Haozhe of the PLA with 24 hits.