Diethelm Gerber wins pistol gold and ticket to Rio 2016
Silver medallist Antoanetta Boneva, gold medallist Heidi Diethelm Gerber and bronze medallist Monika Karsch. Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Swiss shooter takes 25m title ahead of Bulgaria's Boneva and Karsch of Germany
It took a week, but Switzerland finally added to their triple gold medal haul on the first day of the Baku 2015 European Games when Heidi Diethelm Gerber won the women's 25m air pistol on Saturday.
Diethelm Gerber, 46, only started to compete on the international circuit six years ago, but she made up for lost time when proving too good for world no.3 Antoaneta Boneva of Bulgaria in the gold medal match, claiming a quota place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games along the way.
"I started at 40 on the international list but I was 33 the first time I tried shooting in local competition, and a few years later I said I wanted to shoot more and better so I tried everything to get into the international team," said Diethelm Gerber, who won her first World Cup gold at Fort Benning, USA, last year. She was a finalist in the women's 10m air pistol at the Baku Shooting Centre on Wednesday.
"It was 2009, my first competition in the World Cup, and my aim was to go to London 2012. I tried really hard and I got to the 2011 European championship and a quota place for London, and now it's progress in small steps every year, and now I'm on the right way for Rio," said Diethelm Gerber, who worked in marketing in the food industry before becoming a professional shooter.
Germany's Monika Karsch, who struck gold at last year's World Cup final in Gabala, Azerbaijan, won the bronze medal match against Russian shooter Yuliya Alipova.