South Australia’s Katarina Kowplos registered a personal best score when winning the Open 10m Air Rifle final at the Target Rifle South Australia Championships at Wingfield Rifle Range in Adelaide today.
Kowplos, aged 19, captured the gold medal in an impressive display when scoring 251.0 points in defeating Queensland’s Dane Sampson (250.6 points) and Victoria’s Elise Collier (228.2 points).
Kowplos’ winning score today would have secured the silver medal at the 2018 World Championships – just 0.1 points behind South Korea’s Im Ha-na’s gold medal winning score.
Today’s victory saw Kowplos become the fifth Open 10m Air Rifle winner in this year’s Performance Series and sees her jump into third position with 107 points on the Open 10m Air Rifle Performance Leaderboard behind Sampson (114 points) and fellow South Australian Jack Rossiter (108 points).
Kowplos’ performance was a giant boost for the Tokyo Olympic Games in July where she will compete in one of two Australian teams in the Mixed 10 Air Rifle Teams event plus the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position event.
Kowplos was delighted with her performance particularly after qualifying for the final in sixth position after the morning qualifying events.
Sampson led the final for the first 16 shots before Kowplos claimed a 0.5 point lead after 18 shots when shooting scores of 10.7 and a perfect 10.9.
Kowplos then held her nerve against the more experienced Sampson for the remaining six shots to clinch a narrow 0.4 point gold medal victory.
“That (the final) was pretty stressful. My heart rate was really high and was pumping,” said Kowplos.
“I just wanted the match to end,” she added with a smile.
“I just concentrated on my breathing and found a consistent rhythm,” she said.
Kowplos’ victory was a well timed boost after finishing seventh in the Open 50m Rifle 3 Positions event yesterday.
Kowplos said she is still adjusting to her new 3 Positions rifle after recently receiving replacement parts after detecting a faulty firing pin.
“I’ve now got less than 100 days to get use to my rifle,” she said.