LONDON - Just reaching the shoot-off of the men's trap final was enough to make him cry.
Despite having to fight back his tears, Giovanni Cernogoraz of Croatia did not take long to compose himself and beat world champion Massimo Fabbrizi of Italy in a tense conclusion to shooting at the London Olympics.
"I was crying because I realized that at least a silver medal was 100 per cent for me," Cernogoraz said.
It got even better than that. After Fabbrizi missed his sixth target in the sudden-death round, Cernogoraz produced yet another clean hit to take the first ever shooting gold for Croatia.
"This gold medal is fantastic," said Cernogoraz, who in his daily life helps out in his family's restaurant in Novigrad. "This is very good for me, for my family and for the country. I did not expect to win, I was just hoping to make it to the final."
Even if he could not match fellow Italian Niccolo Campriani, who won gold in the 50-meter three-positions rifle earlier Monday, Fabbrizi still left the shooting range with a broad smile.
"I am very satisfied," he said. "I worked for four years for this. This was my chance and I took it."
In another shoot-off, Fehaid Aldeehani of Kuwait won bronze by defeating Michael Diamond of Australia, who broke the Olympic record in qualification earlier Monday.
Diamond shot a perfect 125, breaking the Olympic record he shared with Alexey Alipov of Russia by one point.
A flawless qualification round had been shot eight times before in other competitions.
Two-time former Olympic champion Diamond achieved the feat for the first time, pumping his right fist in celebration after hitting the final target. "I didn't even know it was an Olympic record," Diamond said.
Though going into the final with the maximum 125 points did not prove to be enough for a medal in Diamond's sixth Olympics.
In the 25-shot final, Diamond first missed at his fourth attempt, and later even missed two straight targets.
"I am very disappointed," said Diamond, who won the Olympic trap title in 1996 and 2000. "I was competing for gold or silver and it's a blow I didn't get it."
Not missing once in qualification did him put off a little bit in the final.
"I started shooting quicker than I usally do," he said. "My heart rate was really high. It's all about patience, reflexes and eye sight."
Defending Olympic champion David Kostelecky of the Czech Republic and top-ranked Alipov, who won the trap title in Athens in 2004, failed to make the final.
The man's trap event wrapped up the shooting at the London Olympics. South Korea topped the medal table with three golds and two silvers, followed by the United States with three golds and one bronze.