Experience gained in Japan will stand me in good stead in the future, says Milka Gehani
Gehani, who completed her 18th birthday only last April 24, easily showed she is an investment for the future. especially with the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka taking the bold step of extending her sports scholarship in Japan for another two years, Gehani is confident of giving out something special in the coming years. Gehani had breaks for vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise of 13.366, 10.866, 11.266 and 10.300 respectively to have a grand total of 45.798 after she was eliminated from the preliminary round.
Nevertheless, the Lankan teenage sensation had a morale booster as Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Namal Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka NOC President Suresh Subramaniam and Secretary General Maxwell de Silva were there at the Ariyake Gymnastic Centre to see her in action.
However, only 24 out of 85 who competed in the qualifiers were selected for the final round. But there too, only the two best out of a single country had the passage to the final round.
Accordingly, Viktoriia Listunova (6th – of IOC unified team), Jade Carley (9th – USA), Mykayla Skinner (11th – USA) and Grace Callum (13th – USA) missed out their places in the final round, despite finishing within the first 24.
Meanwhile, Australia accounted for its first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games when its women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team won the final with a new world record.
The Australian team comprising Bronte Campbell, her elder sister Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Meg Harris clocked a new record time of three minutes and 29.69 seconds to strike gold. Canada settled for the silver medal, with the USA finishing third.
The new Australian quartet’s time at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre shaved 0.36 seconds off the previous world mark, which was also set by the Australian team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The gold with a new world record also signaled Australia’s third consecutive one in the event.
“Breaking the world record is an incredible feat. We were only going out there to do our job, to see what we could do. But to go under three minutes, 30 seconds with this team is pretty incredible,” said Bronte Campbell after the win.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of a better team of these three girls plus the two who were in the heats,” she said. Twenty seven-year old Bronte, got Australia off to a sensational start, before handing over to Meg Harris in the second lap but behind Sweden. But the Olympic debutant gave Australia the much needed lead and they never looked back since then for a new world mark.
McKeon had a blistering third leg of 51.35, the fastest relay split of the final, before Cate finished the anchor lap, finishing just three seconds ahead of second-placed Canada. Netherlands narrowly missed out on the podium.
At Asaka Shooting Range, Vitalina Batsarashkina kissed the gold medal in the women’s 10m air pistol with an Olympic record of 240.3 points. She narrowly beat Antoaneta Kostadinova (239.4) into second. Bulgarian was leading until the very last shot but failed to maintain the rhythm in the final.
Thus, Batsarashkina upgraded her 2016 Rio de Janeiro silver with the refugee Olympic team’s first gold medal in Tokyo. Ranxin Jiang of China, who qualified top with an Olympic record, won bronze with 218.0 points.
Jiang matched Greece’s Anna Korakaki’s three-year-old record of 587 points to lead qualifying.
Nina Salukvadze of Georgia created participation history by becoming the first athlete to compete in nine Olympic Games and announced her retirement after failing to qualify for the finals.
The 52-year-old Georgian first competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for the Soviet Union, winning a gold medal and a silver. She added a bronze at the Beijing 2008 Games and became the first mother and son duo to compete at the same games with Tsotne Machavariani in Rio 2016. She finished 31st in the 10-metre air pistol and will compete in the 25-metre pistol.
Ranked 10th in the world, Batsarashkina was third in qualifying and moved ahead of Kostadinova with a 10.7 with three shots to go. The 25-year-old closed out with a 10.2 to earn the gold she just missed in Rio de Janeiro.