x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

China's Guo wins air pistol gold

Guo Wenjun of China won the gold medal in the women's 10 metre air pistol event, beating the Russian Natalia Paderina with a new Olympic record in the final.

BEIJING // Guo Wenjun of China won the gold medal in the women's 10 metre air pistol event, beating the Russian Natalia Paderina with a new Olympic record in the final. The Georgian Nino Salukvadze, who almost left the Games earlier today with her 35-member team over a conflict with Russia in her homeland, took bronze. After putting down her pistol on her final shot, she wiped tears from her eyes. Paderina, who had led after the qualifying round, might have been rattled when there was no applause as she was introduced to the crowd of 2,000 spectators. There had been warm applause for the other finalists and loud cheering for Guo.

Salukvadze took the bronze medal after moving up from fourth place after qualifying. Salukvadze, who won a silver medal in this event for the Soviet Union in 1988, had remained calm throughout the final and overtook Munkzul Tsogbadrah of Mongolia in the final to get on the podium. She congratulated the winner and then she and Paderina shook hands and embraced. Salukvadze, one of 35 Olympic athletes from Georgia told to stay in Beijing despite the conflict with Russia, said she was worried about the fate of her country.

"I've been really nervous," she said after collecting her medal. "Since yesterday I thought we would leave the Games. The Russian political leaders, our political leaders and other state political leaders should sit and talk about this." Georgia's team had offered to withdraw over the conflict with Russia in South Ossetia. But the Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili sent a message overnight instructing them to stay.

Mr Saakashvili's message to continue was relayed to the team at a meeting earlier today by the country's first lady who is in Beijing, said the spokesman Giorgi Tchanishvili. "The whole team has had hardly any sleep," he said. "We were ready to leave the Olympic Games and we were waiting until very late for this decision. "The First Lady (Sandra) then addressed the whole team in the Olympic Village at about 2am and told us we should stay in the best interest of the country."

*Reuters