The 2012 ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Final in Bangkok turned into the scene of a goodbye when Germany’s longest-standing Olympian ever, 25m Rapid Fire Pistol shooter Ralf Schumann, announced his retirement on Sunday.
Schumann, a seven-time Olympian (1988 to 2012), leaves the shooting world with an unmatched medals tally: three Olympic titles, a total of five Olympic medals, three World and seven European Championship individual titles, as well as 13 ISSF World Cup trophies and 39 ISSF World Cup gold medals. Nobody has won as much as he did.
The German champion, turning 50 this year, said he will be back as a coach.
“After more than 700 competitions, I feel it’s time to say goodbye” Schumann said.
“Sometimes, a few years ago, I stopped counting the medals, and I only kept record of the titles.
“I have some five or six boxes full of medals at home. So, why should I keep on competing? It’s time for me to give something back. I will start coaching young athletes, and I hope I will become a national coach soon.”
“What I have learned out of 35 years of professional sport? Never give up, don’t miss your targets.”
Schumann made his announcement after finishing fourth with 22 hits at the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event in Bangkok. The match was won by Martin Strnad (CZE) with 32 , while Silver went to Christian Raitz (GER) with 29 , and Bronze to Zhang Jian (CHN) with 25 .
Only the top performers were chosen and invited here to compete in the Final, which closed the 2012 ISSF World Cup Series. The best 90 shooters came from 34 countries around the world: the 2012 Olympic Champions and medallists, the title defenders and the best athletes selected throughout this year’s ISSF World Cup Stages in London, Milan and Munich.
Australia’s Lalita Yauleuskaya was one of the elite field, competing in the women’s 10m Air Pistol, where she finished seventh with a score of 478, six behind winner Olena Kostevych of the Ukraine.
The People’s Republic of China finished atop of the medal standings after 10 shooting events. With a total of eight medals, including two gold, two silver and four bronze medals, the Chinese shooters beat the Czech Republic, second with two gold medals, and Germany, third with one gold and two silver medals.