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Friday March 24, 2006

Commonwealth Games: After five gold Jung slips to bronze

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Samaresh Jung's five-gold winning sequence ended Friday when he finished third in the 25-meter centre-fire event, leaving the Indian shooter one chance to equal the record for most titles at a Commonwealth Games. 

Jung, 35, tied on 578 for the top spot with Singapore's On Shawming and New Zealander Gregory Yelavich, but was beaten to third place in the shootoff to decide the medals. 

On claimed the gold and Yelavich took the silver, while defending champion Jaspal Rana of India finished fourth - one shot adrift of the medals. 

Jung has five gold, one silver and one bronze from seven events in Melbourne, and has another event to go Saturday. 

His chance of getting a record seven gold medals gone, Jung will aim in the standard pistol over 25 meters to equal the Games record six gold medals shared by Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe (2002) and Susie O'Neill (1998). 

All through his gold-winning sequence, Jung said he was not focusing on any golden record, but Friday acknowledged a change of thinking. 

"Yes, the record did come to my mind before the final today,'' said Jung. 

As for his record chances: "I don't really know what's in store, we'll see what happens.'' 

The Jung family has had a party during these games, with wife Anuja winning one gold and a silver in her two rifle events. 

She said Thursday that the family had set a 10-medal target for Melbourne, and that remains a possibility if Jung can shoot another medal Saturday. 

Jung dropped out from the first shootoff, but the gold medalist was spotted only after the second shootoff. 

"It was tense, very tense out there,'' said On. 

"First there was a tie and we shot again, but then we got another tie.'' 

"I think my fellow countrymen will be jumping and flipping backward 20 times.'' 

India's dominance of the ranges continued in a 1-2 finish in men's 50-meter rifle three-prone, where Gagan Narang set a new games record of 1,261.4 to claim his third gold medal here and compatriot Abhinav Bindra was second on 1,248.6. 

Australian Ben Burge got the bronze with 1,238.2. 

A four-way shootoff divided the medalists in women's individual skeet, where Andri Eleftheriou of Cyprus won the gold by eclipsing seasoned Aussie shooter Lauryn Mark. 

England's Pinky le Grelle took the bronze after a second shootoff with Natalia Rahaman, the Australian who lost a shootoff to Mark in the 2002 games. 

All four had tied on 89. 

"I don't know what to say, this is my first Commonwealth Games gold in my first games,'' said Eleftheriou, 21.  

"I am speechless.'' 

Mark, whose husband is also a games gold medalist, said this medal wasn't "quite the color I wanted.'' 

"It's good for the Commonwealth Games that there are four people good enough to win gold, I think this was the first four-way shootoff for a gold,'' said Mark, a multiple gold medalists. 

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