Russian sports shooter Vitalina Batsarashkina has the honor of being Russia’s first gold medalist at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
On Sunday, the 24-year-old athlete won the women’s 10-meter pistol competition with an Olympic record of 240.3 points, surpassing her Bulgarian rival Antoaneta Kostadinova, who won silver with 239.4 points. Jiang Ranxin of China was the best in the qualifying rounds with an Olympic record of her own of 587 points, but she ended up having to settle for bronze with 218.0 points.
Russia, which has historically been among the world’s top sporting nations, has so far clinched twelve medals at this year’s summer games. On Saturday, another Russian shooter, Anastasia Galashina, claimed silver in a tense women’s 10-meter air rifle competition while Russian taekwondo athlete Mikhail Artamonov won the first Russian bronze.
This year, the country’s athletes are competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag following a decision from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The agency initially banned the world’s largest country from all major sporting events, including Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as well as the Qatar 2022 football World Cup and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, due to a doping scandal.
However, the four-year ban was halved late last year by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a clear victory for the Russian side. The ban will now run until December 16, 2022. While the Russians are still not allowed to compete under the country’s flag, they can now wear their tri-color uniforms instead of the neutral ones initially imposed by WADA.
The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are being held in Japan’s capital of Tokyo from July 23 – August 8. In March 2020, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to postpone the event for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic spread worldwide.