Canadian Lynda Kiejko captures Pan Am gold in women's 10-metre air pistol

INNISFIL, Ont. — Shooting runs deep in Lynda Kiejko's blood, and she proved it again at the 2015 Pan American Games.

The 34-year-old from Calgary posted a score of 195.7 to win gold in the women's 10-metre air pistol on Saturday.

She finished just ahead of Mexico's Alejandra Zavala at 194.3. Lilian Castro of El Salvador was third at 172.0.

It was Kiejko's second Pan Am medal after capturing bronze in the same event in 2003.

Kiejko (pronounced KAY-ko) comes from a shooting family. Her late father Bill was a three-time Olympian in the sport. Sister Dorothy Ludwig competed in two Pan Am Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

"This gold medal is especially sweet for me," Kiejko said. "Four years ago, my sister won the gold medal in Guadalajara in the same event. It's pretty awesome."

Her victory gives Canada a berth in next summer's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The athlete who fills it will be determined later in a Shooting Federation Canada trials event.

Kiejko won a Canadian championship last year just one month after giving birth to her daughter Olivia.

Knowing she would have a vocal crowd behind her at the Pan Am Shooting Centre, Kiejko worked on her concentration in training.

"I did have some amazing training partners at home who trained with me and they made lots of noise and distractions and it was really great," Kiejko.

"There's a lot of times where shooting is very reserved and very quite and very dignified, and we threw all of that to the wayside. Knowing that it was a home crowd and that at least 95 per cent of the cheering was for me was really nice."

She said it was difficult to manage her emotions, however.

"My heart was racing like a steam engine," Kiejko said. "I just accepted it and said 'No worries, we got this, my heart is racing so it's working well, it's good,' and I carried on from there."

The Canadian Press