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Australia third on medal tally as Catherine shoots for glory

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Australia has dropped from first to third on the medal tally at the 2016 Rio Olympics, despite debutante trap shooter Catherine Skinner taking out the gold.

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The United States of America has claimed top spot, with three gold medals, five silver and four bronze. China is second with a total of eight medals, leading Australia’s three gold and three bronze.

Campbell sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell joined Emma McKeon and Brittany Elmslie to win the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay final, while Melbourne’s Mack Horton took home gold in the 400m freestyle.

The third was much more of a shock.

Olympic debutante trap shooter Catherine Skinner arrived in Rio having never won an international competition.

But the 26-year-old chemical engineer showed nerves of steel overnight, Australian time, to edge out New Zealand’s Natalie Rooney in a tight final by one shot.

Her triumph ensured Australia remained atop the medal table midway through day two – with three golds and two bronzes.

Skinner needed a shootout just to qualify for the semis, and then missed her first shot in the final.

“I’ve been there before where I have fallen to pieces, so it’s all a learning curve and thankfully it’s paid off – I’ve got the medal,” she said after pocketing Australia first Olympic shooting gold in 12 years.

“I just tried to remember to breathe.

“It was such a big shock (to win) and the realisation of it still hasn’t hit.”

Fellow Australian Laetisha Scanlan was the leading qualifier, before fading to finish fifth.

There was also success for the green and gold in the diving pool where Maddison Keeney and Anabelle Smith claimed bronze in the women’s 3m synchro.

Keeney and Smith saved their best for last, executing a superb forward two-and-a-half somersault one twist pike to secure their best score of 71.10 and edge out Canada by less than a point.

Diving powerhouse China snared the gold through Shi Tingmao and Wu Minxia.

The swim team got the ball rolling for Australia on day one.

Mack Horton stormed home to win the 400m freestyle and then took aim at Chinese silver medallist Sun Yang, who served a three-month doping ban in 2014.

“It is true, he has tested positive,” said Horton.

“No athlete has really come forward and said it. It wouldn’t have felt right if I raced against someone who had tested positive and didn’t bring it up.”

Sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell combined with Emma McKeon and Brittany Elmslie to win gold as expected in the women’s 4x100m freestyle in a world record time.

After one day of competition the swim squad had already doubled the meagre haul of one gold from the London Olympics.

Canoe slalom world No.4 Lucien Delfour crashed out of the K1 in controversial circumstances on Sunday.

Delfour disputed the call to penalise him 50 points for missing a gate but his appeal was turned down.

Countryman Ian Borrows earned a spot in the semis with a penalty-free heat.

Samantha Stosur made a winning start in the women’s singles at the tennis, overcoming a slow start to down Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko.

But Daria Gavrilova had the misfortune to come up against world No.1 Serena Williams in the opening round and was dealt a 6-4 6-2 defeat.

Gold medal favourites Australia cruised into the semi-finals of the women’s rugby sevens with a 24-0 win over Spain.

Meanwhile, Australia will be hoping for a better match against Belgium in the men’s Olympic hockey after suffering a shock defeat by Spain.

The Spanish team have held on to their 1-0 lead from quarter time to upset the Kookaburras.

Spain is undefeated after downing host nation Brazil 7-0 on Saturday while Australia is 1-1 after beating New Zealand.

-AAP

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