Chinese Olympic champion to train Indian shooters

December 22nd, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) The 1992 Barcelona Olympics skeet gold medallist Zhang Shan of China is India’s new coach for shotgun events for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.Zhang, 40, was cleared Monday by the sports ministry as one of the three foreign coaches for shooting. Hungarian Laszlo Scuzask has been retained as rifle coach after the Beijing Olympics and the hunt is on for an overseas pistol coach as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) did not renew the contract of another Hungarian Csaba Gyorik in the wake of the poor showing by pistol shooters during his tenure.

“Zhang is a top shooter and her contract stipulates her to be with shooters for three weeks every three months,” NRAI general-secretary Baljeet Singh Sethi told IANS.

Zhang will be paid $550 a day during her stint.

National coach Sunny Thomas welcomed Zhang’s appointment and said her association will benefit trap, double trap and skeet shooters.

“Her appointment has come at the right time. Zhang is a legend and her immense knowledge should help our shooters,” said Thomas.

Zhang is dubbed as the “woman who outshot men” for her striking performance at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where she became the first and the only woman to win a shooting event thrown open for men and women for the first time, setting an Olympic record.

After Barcelona, she took a break from the sport to study economics at Sichuan University. She resumed training in 1998 and won one more gold and three silver medals at the World Championships in 1998, 1999 and 2001. At the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, she lost some of her edge and finished eighth.

Her entry into shooting happened through basketball, when she was selected to train the sport in a special program for promising young athletes in 1976. In 1984, she began skeet shooting for the local Sichuan team and in 1989 she joined the national team.

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