Wrestler shrugs off 'pressure' to get Russia off to winning start
RIO DE JANEIRO
BESLAN Mudranov won Russia's first gold medal at the Rio Games in judo on Saturday and fired a warning shot that his country had plenty more to prove.
His victory came two days after Russia's judo team were officially cleared to participate in the Olympics after his country escaped a blanket ban over a doping record.
"There has been a lot of psychological pressure that our country Russia has been subject to.
"Here, to win a gold medal on the very first day, of course it means a lot for my country," Mudranov said.
"Of course, our country will prove to everyone that we can win the gold, I'm pretty confident that this is not the last gold medal we have won," he added.
Mudranov's gold in the men's 60kg follows his compatriot Arsen Galstyan's triumph in the same weight class in London four years ago.
In a tense duel with Kazahkstan's Yeldos Smetov that went into "golden score" extra time, Mudranov threw Smetov to claim a match-ending waza-ari and earn his first Olympic medal.
Japan's Naohisa Takato and Diyorbek Urozboev of Uzbekistan took bronze.