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Four years ago, one can only imagine what was going through the mind of Hoang Xuan Vinh as he arrived in London.

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It was the biggest sporting stage on the planet -- the Olympic Games -- and the Vietnamese shooter could not have been faulted for harbouring dreams of greatness.

It had been chance that led him down this path in 1999 when Xuan Vinh, then 25, was a military officer who made a name for himself as an expert marksman.

A year later, he won his first national gold medal và broke the national record in the process, và he became a Southeast Asian Games champion by 2001.

From then on, Xuan Vinh continued lớn rise in the world of shooting but, in the end, it was not to be in his Olympic debut in London.

Hoang Xuan Vinh became the first Olympic gold medalist in Vietnam"s history at the Rio Games.AP Photo/Hassan AmmarHe finished ninth in the qualifying round for the 10m air pistol, failing to lớn make the cut by a solitary point, and also had to settle for fourth spot in the 50m pistol final after missing a podium place by 0.1 points.

It would have been easy for Xuan Vinh to lớn rue his luck or even be discouraged by coming so close but falling short at the prestigious Games.

Instead, he continued to push on, overcoming any mental demons that may have festered inside him.

By the over of 2012, he had climbed the summit in the continent after winning gold in the 10m air pistol at the 2012 Asian Air Gun Championships in Nanchang, China.

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Less than five months later, more success fell his way as he finished đứng đầu in the same sự kiện at the International Shooting thể thao Federation World Cup, seeing off Olympic bronze medalist Wang Zhiwei of đài loan trung quốc in the final with the last shot.

Then, in March 2014, his hard work delivered a far greater accolade at the ISSF Rifle và Pistol World Cup Stage in United States, claiming the gold medal and setting a new world record of 202.8 points.

All this meant that, by the time the Olympic Games came around again in Rio de Janeiro, Xuan Vinh entered the tournament as a legitimate medal prospect.

And năm 2016 proved to be his time emerge from the shadows indeed.

Pitted in an enthralling duel against local favourite Felipe Almeida Wu, which naturally meant he was also up against the home crowd, Xuan Vinh was trailing by 0.2 points going into the final shot.

Wu shot first và scored a 10.1. Moments later, the Vietnamese replied with 10.7 lớn snatch first place and, in the process, become the Olympic gold medalist in his nation"s history.

Immediately after, Xuan Vinh hailed his achievement as one that will be a lifelong memory và dedicated it lớn everyone in his country.

But that wasn"t all for the 42-year-old. Three days later he finished second in the 50m pistol sự kiện to write another page in history books as the first Vietnamese to win two medals in the history of the Games.

Now, the deadeye marksman, who currently holds the rank of colonel in the military & is married with two children, is hoping his exploits will inspire the next generation to lớn pick up shooting.