American Thrasher wins first gold of Games
RIO DE JANEIRO: American teenager Virginia Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, holding her nerve against two Chinese Olympic champions to clinch the women’s 10m air rifle event.
The 19-year-old American edged out China’s Du Li, gold in Athens in 2004, with an Olympic-record score of 208. Defending Olympic champion Yi Siling, also of China, took the bronze medal.
Thrasher was awarded the first gold of the Games by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
Competing in her first Olympics, Thrasher established an early lead after battling with the Russian shooter Daria Vdovina, who stumbled midway through the competition and finished fifth.
Surprise absentees from the final were Serbian duo Andrea Arsovic and Ivana Maksomovic, both rated major threats but who misfired in qualifying.
MINHAL 28TH IN QUALIFYING
Earlier, Pakistan’s Minhal Sohail finished 28th in 51 competitors in qualification with a cumulative score of 413.2.
The 21-year-old college student shot rounds of 102.5, 105.4, 103.2 and 102.1, missing out on qualification by 2.7 points.
Thrasher claimed gold just 11 hours after Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro lit the Olympic cauldron at the climax of Friday’s spectacular opening ceremony.
An absorbing competition was led briefly by Vdovina, one of the Russian contingent competing in Rio in the shadow of the massive doping scandal that has dogged the Games build-up.
Yi was bang in contention to successfully defend her 2012 crown but sharp shooting saw Thrasher and Du go head to head, with the American, displaying maturity beyond her years, edging it on the final shot.