Hoang Xuan Vinh, a 41-year-old serving army colonel, made history in Rio when a near-perfect final shot clinched him gold.

Vinh's victory shunted Brazil's Felipe Almeida Wu and China's Pang Wei into second and third respectively.

"So proud! But the greatest happiness was that we won over China," Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen, a Vietnamese music show host based in the US but popular in her homeland, wrote on Facebook.

"You are the pride of the nation and the people," added reader Truong Tran Hoang Du, on the Tuoi Tre newspaper's website.

Vinh reportedly learned how to shoot in the communist country's military which he joined in 1991, initially practising on AK47 rifles.

Vietnamese state media said that Vinh would receive $131,000 from the state on his return - the average annual income in Vietnam is around $2,760.

"This victory came from the courageous spirit and the utmost determination of the athlete, his coaches and from key investment ahead of the 2016 Olympics," Minister of Sports Nguyen Ngoc Thien said.

Vietnam had previously won two silver medals in past Olympic games.

ABC New with Agence France Presse and Reuters

Viet Nam wins first shooting gold at Rio Olympics 2016

Hoang Xuan Vinh won the first gold medal for Viet Nam at the men’s 10m air pistol event of Rio 2016 on Saturday.

He scored 202.5 points in the final round, breaking the previous Olympics record.

Vinh had scored 581 in the qualification round.

Felipe Almeida Wu of host Brazil won the silver medal, scoring 202.1 points, and China’s Pang Wei got the bronze, with 180.4 points. VNS

Vietnam News - August 7, 2016