07/24 23:11 CDT Batsarashkina backs up silver in Rio with gold in Tokyo
Batsarashkina backs up silver in Rio with gold in Tokyo
By JOHN MARSHALL
AP Sports Writer
TOKYO (AP) --- The longest tenure in Olympic history came to a close with Nina
Salukvadze's retirement announcement.
A new era in shooting may be taking off with Vitalina Batsarashkina's second
Batsarashkina won gold in women's 10-meter air pistol at the Tokyo Olympics on
Sunday, shortly after Salukvadze said she will not return for a 10th Olympics.
Batsarashkina just missed gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and followed
through in Tokyo, shooting an Olympic-record 240.3 points to finish 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.
"I still can't believe I won gold," Batsarashkina said through an interpreter.
The 24-year Russian shooter still has plenty more chances to add to her haul.
Salukvadze is calling it a career after Tokyo following a decorated career
derailed, in part, by eye surgery.
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 had surgery in 2019 and was forced to change eyes for shooting, but
still managed to qualify for her record ninth Olympics. She finished 31st in
10-meter air pistol and will compete in 25-meter pistol on Friday.
"I'm not going to try qualifying for the Olympics any more," she told Russian
state news agency RIA Novosti.
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. She calmed her nerves when she needed it
most, holding in the emotions on the shooting range to earn her first medal in
her third Olympics.
"Maybe from the outside, people see us as unemotional, but inside there's a lot
of emotions and sometimes we couldn't control it," said Kostadinova, who wiped
away tears during several post-finals interviews. "This time, today, I could
control my emotions and have a medal for it."
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.
AP Sports Writer James Ellingworth contributed to this report.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and