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Eller claims gold medal in double trap

8/16/2008

BEIJING, China — In his third Olympic Games, a Soldier of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit of Fort Benning, Ga., has finally won the Gold Medal.

Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III of the USAMU Shotgun Team captured the Gold Medal and set two Olympic records in the Men's Double Trap competition Tuesday at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Eller, who finished 12th at the Sydney Games and 17th in Athens, entered the final round four targets ahead of Italy's Francesco D'
Aniello with a qualification score of 145, setting an Olympic record.
The previous Olympic record of 144 was set by Ahmed Almaktoum of the United Arab Emirates at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

After missing his first pair in the final, Eller ended up shooting 45 targets and finished with a total score of 190 targets, setting another Olympic record and taking home the Gold.

"I was so happy after I won, but I didn't know whether to cry, smile or jump up and down," said Eller. "After my performances in the last two Olympics, I really wanted to come here and bring home a medal for the U.S. This is definitely one of the greatest moments of my life so far."

Eller's USAMU teammate Spc. Jeffrey G. Holguin, who was competing for the USA on his first Olympic team, went into the final in third place with a score of 140, shot 42 targets in the final and ended in fourth place with an overall score of 182.

"I got off to a bad start and couldn't really figure out what I was doing wrong," Holguin said of his performance. "I came here to win; my goal wasn't just to make the team. I am disappointed, but hats off to Glenn who is not only my teammate, but a good friend."

D' Aniello took the Silver with 187 targets, while the Bronze Medal was won by Hu Binyuan of China with 184 targets.

In the Men's 50-Meter Free Pistol event, USAMU member Sgt. 1st Class Daryl L. Szarenski, who competed in two previous Olympic Games, was the top American finisher at 14th place with a total score of 555. Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., a 2004 Olympian, took 21st place with 553.

Speaking about his performance following the match, Turner said, "It was a little rough. I had to work very hard just to accomplish what I did today. I didn't have any expectations going in to the match. I just went in and tried to execute each shot as well as I could."

The Gold went to Jin Jong-oh of the Republic of Korea, the Silver Medalist in 2004, with an overall score of 660.4. Kim Jong-su from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea took the Silver with
660.2 and China's Tan Zongliang won the Bronze with an overall score of 659.5.

There will be only one shooting event at the Beijing Shooting Range Aug. 13; the Women's 25-Meter Sport Pistol competition will take place, with both the qualification and final rounds being contested.

Three-time Olympian Beki Snyder of Colorado Springs, Colo., will be competing in her second event of the 2008 Olympic Games in Sport Pistol. U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Elizabeth "Libby" Callahan, who at
56 is the oldest known American woman to compete for the USA at an Olympic Games (winter or summer), will be vying for a spot on the podium in her fourth Olympic Games appearance.

For complete 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Shooting (Shotgun) results, please visit www.usashooting.org.