New Zealander shooters Mike Collings and John Snowden survived a nerve-jangling 6-hour wait before being confirmed as Commonwealth Games fullbore pairs gold medallists today.

In scenes more like the aftermath of an Americas Cup yachting race than a shooting competition, there were protests, provisional re-shoots, problems with scoring and with the electronic targets.

It meant that Collings and Snowden, who finished their pairs competition at about midday with 588 points, had to wait until after dark before having their gold medal confirmed. Scotland scored 587 and England 584.

However, both Canada and Australia were involved in protests and re-shooters which could have had an impact on the medals. They both had provisional re-shoots, which were eventually both disallowed. It meant no-one could be sure of the final score for several hours.

We knew we had a medal, said Snowden, but we werent sure it was going to be gold.

Snowden said he and Collings were pleased with how theyd shot in the teams event. He said before the competition, Australia and England might have been narrow favourites, but there were six or seven countries in with a realistic gold medal hopes.

New Zealand team manager Tony Waymouth said he was very proud of Collings and Snowden.

These boys really earned their gold medal, said Waymouth. Theyve had six days of shooting on the trot, up at 5.30am, a 1-hour drive to the range, shooting in 40-degree heat and constantly having to change mounds.

It was a very gruelling, intense test, and for them to come through like they did was just tremendous. The competition had everything. There were a lot of ups and downs and the boys stuck to it magnificently.

In the individual competition, which also involved protests, Collings finished fourth and Snowden 13th.

Myrin Abbott
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