Sampson on target to reach third Olympics

Adelaide-based shooter Dane Sampson in on target to represent Australia at a third Olympic Games.
Adelaide-based shooter Dane Sampson in on target to represent Australia at a third Olympic Games.

Dane Sampson is on target to reach his third Olympics, but the opening rounds of Australia's Tokyo 2020 rifle trials suggest the selection showdown could go down to the last shot.

Sampson last year secured a 2020 Olympics quota spot for Australia in 10m air rifle, having finished the World Cup final in fourth spot.

The Queenslander, who won the same event at the Commonwealth Games, last week forecast a tight Olympic selection race in the discipline and that is exactly what is taking place.

A shooters' three best scores from four events will count towards an Olympic selection leaderboard then the top-ranked competitor will represent Australia at the Tokyo Olympics.

Adelaide hosted two of four rounds on the weekend, with Sampson winning gold on both Saturday and Sunday.

Sampson currently leads the selection table with 1270.7 points ahead of 18-year-old South Australian Alex Hoberg (1268.7) and Rio 2016 Olympian Jack Rossiter (1267.7).

Sampson pipped Hoberg by just 0.1 points to win Sunday's final.

Tuesday provided more final-shot drama as Sampson made it a clean sweep of the competition, winning the 50m three-position event with a score of 451.7 points ahead of Rossiter (451.5).

"My scores could definitely be better. I've got plenty of work to do until the next event, to make sure that I am well ahead of the others," said Sampson.

In the women's three-position event on Tuesday, Maria Rebling won gold with a score of 434.4 points ahead of locals Emma Adams (431.9) and Katarina Kowplos (419.4).

Tori Rossiter, Jack's younger sister, tops the 10m air rifle leaderboard after tallying 1262.5 points.

Rossiter has already opened up a handy lead over Elise Collier (1257.8) and Kowplos (1251.6).

"I'm not focusing on where everyone else is placed because you can get caught up with that. I'm glad the first two competitions are over, and I'm in a good position at the moment," Rossiter said.

Adelaide will host the next rifle selection event on February 28, while the final trial will starts in Sydney on March 18.

Australian Associated Press