London: Belarus collected their first gold medal of the London Games on Friday when shooter Sergei Martynov easily won the men's 50 metre prone rifle with a world-record score.

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The 44-year-old, who serves in the air force at home, scored 705.5 to finish ahead of Belgium's Lionel Cox on 701.2 with Slovenia's Rajmond Debevec third on 701.

The mark bettered that of previous world record holder Germany's Christian Klees, who scored 704.8 at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

The stone-faced Belarusian, who had won bronze in the event at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games, had equalled the world record in the 60-shot qualifiers where he scored a maximum 600.

He started the eight-man final, where shooters fire 10 shots aiming for a maximum score or 10.9 with each, strongly as he extended his lead over Cox to 3.2 after six rounds.

With a lowest score of 10.2 in the final, Martynov showed a consistency that could not be matched by his opponents. He shot a maximum 10.9 in the ninth round to bring the crowd to their feet and afford himself the luxury of a massive 4.1 lead ahead of the finale.

After firing a 10.6 with his last shot, Martynov cracked a shy smile and punched the air in delight in front of a packed crowd in the indoor range at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Cox fired a 10.4 with his final shot to claim the silver and hold off a charge from 49-year-old Debevec, who had started the final three points behind the Belgian.


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