By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

July 31 - Italy's Niccolò Campriani today wrote himself a small place in the history of the London 2012 Olympics when he became the first competitor to ensure their qualification for the Games.

The 22-year old shooter secured the first gold medal of the ISSF World Championship  in Munich, at the  10 metre air rifle men's final, the first Italian to win at the event for 40 years.

The winner was guaranteed of the event at Hochbrück, the venue for shooting at the the 1972 Olympics, was guaranteed a place at London 2012. 

"I can’t believe I am the first qualified athlete," said Campriani, who competed at the Beijing 2008 Olympics when he narrowly missed a pace in the final.

The Italian shooter from Firenze, currently studying engineering and training at the West Virginia University in the United States, made it into the final with a qualification score of 599 out of 600.

Then, shooting solidly during the final, he climbed upon the highest step of the podium with a total score of 702.5 points, beating Hungary's Peter Sidi and India's Gagan Narang, the current world record holder.

India has the current Olympic champion in this event, Abhinav Bindra, who, in Beijing, had become the first Indian to win an individual gold medal.

He finished only 25th in qualifying and failed to make the final, where the top six were guaranteed spots at the London Olympics.

China's Zhu Qinan, the 2004 Olympic champion and 2008 silver medallist, claimed one of the places, finishing fourth, while the two remaining spots went to Italy's Marco De Nicolo and Russia's Denis Sokolv.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]