Reigning world champions Laetisha Scanlan and James Willett have lamented their lack of international tune-ups for Tokyo after both Australian teams missed out on a mixed trap Olympic medal by a tiny margin.
Scanlan and Willett, who won the corresponding event at the 2019 world championships, missed a combined five of 150 targets to finish equal fifth on Saturday.
Penny Smith and Tom Grice, who claimed bronze in 2019 after becoming the inaugural mixed world champions in 2017, also posted a combined score of 145/150 at the Asaka Range.
One more broken target from Scanlan, Willett, Smith or Grice would have forced a shootout, putting Australia in the mix for their first shooting medal of these Games.
But closing rounds of 49 lifted both United States and Slovakia to a final score of 146, meaning they advanced from the qualifying phase to a bronze-medal decider that the Americans won.
Spain won their gold-medal shootout against San Marino, with both pairings scoring 148 in qualification.
"We're both disappointed with our qualification score, we've shot better before," Scanlan said.
"I guess that's the Olympics and that's the pressure that it brings.
"We lacked international pressure. Australia wasn't allowed to travel to any of the World Cups ... this is our first international event back in 18 months.
"You're always learning how to deal with pressure.
"Just getting to the Olympics, with the whole pandemic and the postponement, is enough for me.
"This has been an absolute journey, I'm so proud of myself ... of James and the whole Australian team."
Scanlan-Willet were joint leaders after failing to miss a single target in the first of three qualifying rounds.
They remained in the box seat for a medal after a second round of 48, sitting equal second alongside San Marino's Alessandra Perilli and Gian Marco Berti.
Smith-Grice were equal fourth after the middle round, but misses in the last qualification round from all four Australians proved costly.
"We've spent a lot of time preparing," Willett said.
"We've just tried to make the most of a not-ideal situation.
"We gave it our all ... we've done the best we could have."
The near miss comes two days after an even more slender margin denied Scanlan a medal in the women's trap final.
Perilli edged fourth-placed Scanlan to secure bronze and her microstate's first ever Olympic medal on Thursday, when the score was level but she advanced because of a higher qualification rank.
South Australian Katarina Kowplos finished 36th in Saturday's 50-metre rifle event.
Shooting wraps up on Monday, when Dane Sampson and Jack Rossiter (both 50m rifle, three positions) plus Sergei Evglevski (25m pistol) will be Australia's last hopes of a medal in the sport.
Australian Associated Press