Jen McIntosh doesn’t normally like to hang around. A shot every 35 seconds, give or take. But the Scot was left kicking her heels for a ten minutes that seemed like an eternity during the 10 metres air rifle yesterday after a glitch in her equipment before recovering to finish 15th.
Her score of 414.7 was just fractionally outside the eight spots available in the final, but during a dramatic spell sitting in her seat, staring at the door, she feared the honour of being the first Briton in action in the first full day of the Olympic Games would end in ignominy.
Eventually, her dad and coach Donald sped back with the gun brought back to life. “That was fun,” she declared afterwards with a certain irony. “Something got loose on the sights and was blocking the bolt, so I couldn’t get the bolt open to load the next shot.
“My dad ended up having to take the rifle down inside the tunnel to the service van. So massive thanks for him and the service people for fixing it.”
At the point of the hiatus, there were 19 of her 40 shots remaining. Fifteen minutes to rattle them off. Fortunately the 25-year-old from Edinburgh had established a quick pace. Her last batch of ten was her best, still well adrift of the Olympic record broken by China’s Li Du, but her steady hand remained.
“I don’t think you can prepare for situations like that,” she said. “I’ve had rifle malfunctions in the past. Earlier this year, my rifle got knocked off the table and broke in half. That was fun. So having been through that before, you can’t control it. Accidents happen. You’ve just got to deal with it. It was a really good performance, even if you don’t factor in the malfunction. If you factor that in, I’m super-proud of it.”
On Thursday, she will go into her favoured 50m three-positions event. It would take an incredibly harsh twist of fortune to be as stressful as this.
“It’s a big confidence boost. I’m looking forward to getting back in and experiencing the atmosphere and getting some of the adrenaline going.”