First gold goes to Cuiping

Zhang Cuiping displaying her gold medal.

LONDON – China’s Zhang Cuiping won the first gold medal of the London Paralympics as the shooting got underway at the Royal Artillery Barracks today.

Zhang set a new world record in the women’s R2-10 metres air rifle standing SH1 and the 24-year-old was a class above her rivals as she finished with 500.9 points, well clear of Germany’s Manuela Schmermund in second with Australian Natalie Smith taking bronze.

Zhang set a new Paralympic record in qualifying with 396 points and she was equally accurate in the final with a 104.9 total.

Schmermund finished with 493.6 points and Smith 492.4.

Another Australian, 70-year-old grandmother Elizabeth Kosmala, the oldest competitor at London 2012, was eighth in the final with 488.7.

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