Eller wins double trap gold

By Erik Kirschbaum

BEIJING (Reuters) - Walton Eller of the United States was in a class of his own in winning the men's double trap shooting Olympic gold medal on Tuesday.

The deer hunter from Texas dominated the field in the qualification and kept a steady hand in the finals on a hot afternoon in Beijing in front of a fired-up Chinese crowd to clinch the gold with two shots to spare.

Eller, 26, finished on 190 points with Francesco D'Aniello, an Italian police officer, taking second on 187.

"I knew if I tried my best I'd win it," Eller told reporters. He was 17th four years ago at Athens. He had won the 2003 world championship but suffered a pinched neck before the Olympics. "So far this is the highlight. But I hope there's more to come."

China's Hu Binyuan won bronze after a fantastic final round. Cheered on by a large crowd of Chinese supporters, Hu moved up from fourth place after qualification with 46 out of a possible 50 targets in the finals for a score of 184.

"I'm quite satisfied winning the bronze," Hu told reporters. He came from two points behind to pass American Jeffrey Holguin, who ended up with 182.

"Obviously I felt the pressure but I kept my mind free during the competition," Hu said when asked if the great expectations to win a medal at home had weighed on his shoulders.

Ahmed Almaktoum, of United Arab Emirates, who won the Olympic gold medal four years in Athens, just missed qualifying for the six-man final with seventh place. He lost a dramatic shoot-out to Australia's Mark Russell for sixth place in qualifying.

Britain's Richard Faulds, who won the double trap gold in Sydney in 2000, made it to the finals but finished sixth.