Batsarashkina backs up silver in Rio with gold in Tokyo

Jul 24, 2021, 8:18 AM | Updated: 9:58 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Russia shooter Vitalina Batsarashkina won gold in women’s 10-meter air pistol at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, five years after taking silver at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Batsarashkina shot an Olympic-record 240.3 points, finishing 0.9 ahead of Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Kostadinova.

Jian Ranxin of China took bronze after matching Greece’s Anna Korakaki’s three-year-old record of 587 points to lead qualifying.

Nina Salukvadze of Georgia made history by becoming the first athlete to compete in nine Olympics and announced her retirement to Russian media after failing to qualify for the finals.

The 52-year-old Salukvadze first competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for the Soviet Union, winning a gold and a silver. She added a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and became the first mother/son duo to compete at the same games with Tsotne Machavariani in 2016.

Salukvadze finished 31st in 10-meter air pistol and will compete in 25-meter pistol on Friday.

Batsarashkina, ranked 10th in the world, was third in qualifying and moved ahead of Kostadinova with a 10.7 with three shots to go. The 25-year-old Russian closed out with a 10.2 to earn the gold she just missed in Rio.

The 35-year-old Kostadinova received a bit of redemption with her silver medal after missing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and being banned for two years after testing positive for cocaine at a World Cup event. She was adamant that she unknowingly ingested the drug, saying someone else was responsible, and returned to the sport in 2010.

Kostadinova had some solid finishes after returning, but was ranked 45th in the world heading into the Tokyo Olympics.

Jiang was second, 0.9 points behind Batsarashkina heading into the closing shots, but had a pair of 9.2 shots and closed with a 9.0 to finish third.

India’s high expectations for a big medal haul in shooting took another hit when Yashaswini Deswal and Manu Bhaker, ranked Nos. 1-2 in the world, failed to get through qualifying.

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Batsarashkina backs up silver in Rio with gold in Tokyo