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U.S. teenager wins first gold in Rio

By Christian Okpara
07 August 2016   |   1:03 am
Olympics competition has officially begun, and 19-year-old Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher took home the gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle competition.
China's Du Li (R) and USA's Virginia Thrasher compete in the women's 10m air rifle shooting final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 2016. Pascal GUYOT / AFP

China’s Du Li (R) and USA’s Virginia Thrasher compete in the women’s 10m air rifle shooting final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Shooting Centre in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 2016.<br />Pascal GUYOT / AFP

The United States yesterday won the first gold medal of the 2016 Rio Games.

Olympics competition has officially begun, and 19-year-old Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher took home the gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle competition.

The teenager won the NCAA championship for the West Virginia University earlier this year.

Thrasher’s interest in the sport was sparked during a family hunting trip five years ago. A soon-to-be sophomore engineering major at West Virginia, Thrasher was competing in her first international shooting competition.

Thrasher finished sixth during the qualifying round before defeating Chinese shooters Li Du and Yi Siling. Du took silver and Siling, who took gold in the 2012 London Games, was awarded the bronze.

Jen McIntosh secured the best-ever finish for a British woman – 15th out of 51 in the qualification round.

The five-time Commonwealth medallist overcame a rifle malfunction to produce a strong finish and was just 1.2 points from securing a place in the final.

Thrasher will compete in the 50m three-position event in a few days. Her gold is the third by the USA in women’s air rifle, its first since 2000.