Hoang holds on against Wu, rowdy crowd to take air gun gold

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Hoang Xuan Vinh heard the cheers. The Brazilian fans wanted a Brazilian to win Olympic gold and let Felipe Almeida Wu know it with every shot.

They could chant “Wu!” all they wanted. Hoang wasn’t listening. He was focused, on breathing, relaxing muscles, squeezing the trigger at just the right time.

Hoang shut out the hometown-hero noise and focused on his target of bringing home Vietnam’s first Olympic gold on Saturday, rallying to beat Wu on the final shot of men’s 10-meter air pistol.

“Many people were happy, but I only try to shoot,” Hoang said.

Wu was the clear crowd favorite as the only Brazilian in the field, serenaded with chants of “Wu!” and the Brazilian national anthem.

He led early in the elimination finals of his first Olympics, but Hoang was more consistent, building a 2.3-point by the time defending gold medalist Jin Jongoh of South Korea went out in fifth place.

The crowd became more raucous as Wu rallied, roaring after he hit 10.2 to Hoang’s 9.2 to take the lead on the penultimate shot.

“It was touching and really helped me greatly with my performance,” Wu said.

Wu, the No. 1-ranked shooter heading into the Olympics, hit a solid 10.1 on his final shot, giving the Brazilian fans hope of their first gold of their hometown games.

The 41-year-old Hoang wouldn’t let them or Wu have it, hitting 10.7 to earn his country’s first gold and third medal overall. Vietnam previously won silver in weightlifting in 2008 and another in taekwondo in 2000.

“I am very happy to bring back first gold medal for Vietnam,” said Hoang, who was fourth in 50-meter pistol at the 2012 London Games.

Hoang raised his arms in triumph following the final shot and the Brazilian fans sent Wu off with another chant.

Pang Wei of China, the gold medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, captured bronze.

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