London, England – Alin George Moldoveanu of Romania won the men's 10-meter air rifle gold Monday at the London Games, edging favorite Niccolo Campriani of Italy in the final round.
Moldoveanu and Campriani, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, equaled the Olympic record by each posting scores of 599 in the qualification round. However, the Romanian outshot Campriani in the finals 103.1 to 102.5 over the final 10 shots to win his first Olympic medal. Moldoveanu finished fourth in this event at the 2008 Beijing Games.
The gold marked the first for Romania in shooting since Sorin Babi won the men's 50m pistol at the 1988 Seoul Games.
The 24-year-old Campriani, who trains in Morgantown, W.Va, also picked up his first-ever medal at the Summer Games. India's Gagan Narang won bronze, finishing the competition with a total score of 701.1 -- 0.4 points behind Campriani.
American Matt Emmons failed to qualify for the final round and finished in 35th place. Emmons' best event is the 50m rifle, prone position, having won a gold in Athens and a silver in Beijing in that discipline. The 31-year-old has battled cancer since the last Summer Games and had to have his thyroid removed as a result of that diagnosis.
Emmons, who is married to Czech shooter Katerina Emmons, is also dealing with back problems that will force him to skip the prone event at the 2012 Olympics, but he will have another chance to medal in London in the 50m rifle, 3 positions event. The New Jersey native infamously fired at the wrong target on his last shot in the 3 positions competition in Athens, costing him a gold medal and causing him to finish eighth.
"I am not too worried about the men's 50m rifle 3 positions event because the gun is more adjustable and there are fewer shots," said Emmons.
Jonathan Hall of the U.S. placed 27th in Monday's competition.
In the first day of men's skeet qualification, defending gold medalist Vincent Hancock of the United States leads the competition after hitting 74-of-75 targets. Hancock, a 23-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army, is aiming to become the first two-time winner of this event and leads a trio of shooters who finished with scores of 72.
The skeet competition continues tomorrow before culminating with the final round on Wednesday.