BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — APRIL 08: Dane Sampson celebrates winning gold in the Men's 10m Air Rifle final during Shooting on day four of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Belmont Shooting Centre on April 8, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA — APRIL 08: Dane Sampson celebrates winning gold in the Men's 10m Air Rifle final during Shooting on day four of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Belmont Shooting Centre on April 8, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

‘Coominya Kid’ puts country town on the map

THE electric vibe of gold medal glory can crackle around the world in seconds - yet it still takes time to reach Coominya.

Australian shooting gold medallist Dane Sampson snatched an emotional victory in the men's 10m air rifle on a stretch of turf he knows like his own backyard.

Soon after sealing the deal Sampson proudly noted his strong family links to the fly's footprint of Coominya, population 1200, which is 80km west of Brisbane and two away from the Wivenhoe Dam.

Dane Sampson celebrates winning gold in the men's 10m Air Rifle final.
Dane Sampson celebrates winning gold in the men's 10m Air Rifle final.

Coominya was being placed on the map ... if only Coominya knew.

There was no Melbourne Cup style party at the town's Bellevue Hotel, where patrons on a sleepy Sunday afternoon were blissfully unaware the young boy they used to see roaming around in his parents' convenience store was Australia's latest gold medallist.

When they were informed of the success of the man who must surely now be dubbed "The Coominya Kid", it was welcome news.

"I remember him as a small kid,'' local resident Ros Mitchell said.

Gold medallist Dane Sampson (c) celebrates his gold medal at the Belmot Rifle Range.
Gold medallist Dane Sampson (c) celebrates his gold medal at the Belmot Rifle Range.

"His parents still own the local convenience store but don't operate it any more and his father is in the fire brigade. Good on them. They are nice people.

"It is a great thing for a little country town. The fact that he mentioned Coominya several times is nice because he remembers where he came from.''

Sampson has no memory of his first visit to the Belmont range but that's understandable because he was not born at the time.

"I pretty much grew up here," Sampson said.

Dane Sampson during the men's 10m air rifle final.
Dane Sampson during the men's 10m air rifle final.

"My mum was shooting here when she was pregnant with me, basically, literally on this range. It's special, having it here.

"I think (his father Rodney) has gone off somewhere to cry."

After clinching the victory, a teary-eyed Sampson, who has been shooting since he was 12, embraced his father who is the president of Target Rifle Australia and was serving as the chief range officer for the qualification rounds of his event.

Sampson pipped Bangladeshi Abdullah Hel Baki (silver) and India's Ravi Kumar (bronze), as 16-year-old Aussie Alex Hoberg finished fourth.

Sampson, 31, sensed he may have blown his gold medal chances with his wayward final shot but his opponent couldn't produce the 10.0 shot he needed to seize victory.



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