TOKYO (Reuters) -Vitalina Batsarashkina prevailed in a Russian roulette against South Korean Kim Min-jung in the women’s 25-metre pistol event to claim her second gold medal of the Tokyo Games on Friday.
Batsarashkina, who won the 10m pistol gold at the same Asaka Shooting Range on Sunday, became the first female shooter to claim three medals at the same Olympics.
Both shot an Olympic record of 38 to force a shoot-off and the Russian cracked a wry smile after finding herself in yet another stalemate.
“I am in shoot-offs very often and here was another one, so that amused me,” the 24-year-old said.
Kim led early but the Russian rallied to level the scores in the sixth series and never relented despite the shoot-off drama.
Batsarashkina appeared cool, leaning slightly back in her relaxed stance with her left hand in pocket and wearing the Witcher medallion necklace which had set social media alight this week.
While “excited” with the result, Batsarashkina’s immediate reaction, however, was of homesickness.
“I am happy that the competition is over for me and I’ll go home soon,” said the shooter from Omsk, who also claimed a silver in the 10m air pistol mixed team event.
Kim and China’s Xiao Jiaruixuan, who claimed the bronze, shared that sentiment.
Kim even revealed what she missed the most about home.
“Potatoes sauteed by my mother,” said the Korean, adding the feeling of winning silver was yet to sink in.
“I was quite anxious but I had fun, I really enjoyed the competition.”
Bulgarian Antoaneta Kostadinova, who had won the 10m silver behind Batsarashkina, finished just outside the medals, blaming it more on luck than anything else.
“The difference is that in the final, this is a Russian roulette,” said Kostadinova, who had topped the qualifying rounds.
“This is the final of the luck. The one who has luck today will win. That’s the difference.”
Rio champion Anna Korakaki of Greece came sixth.
Bulgaria’s two-time Olympic champion Maria Grozdeva missed the cut, as did world champion Olena Kostevych of Ukraine.
Georgian Nino Salukvadze, who became the first female athlete to compete in nine Olympics, finished her Tokyo campaign without a medal having failed to reach the final of both her pistol events.
Russian athletes are competing under the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) flag at the Tokyo Olympics this year as part of sanctions for doping scandals.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Shri Navaratnam and Pritha Sarkar)