Tokyo, – Russian gymnasts claimed a first men’s team all-around Olympic gold in 25 years on Monday when they withstood a late effort from hosts and 2016 winners Japan.
A score of 14.466 from world champion Nikita Nagorny in his floor exercise was enough to secure gold with Denis Abliazin, Artur Dalaloyan and David Belyavskiy in the eight-team final with 262.500 points.
“We are overwhelmed. Six months ago we said we would win this gold and we have now confirmed it,” said Dalaloyan who was competing in Tokyo despite rupturing his Achilles tendon in late April.
But it was an anxious wait for the Russians before they could celebrate a first gold since Atlanta 1996 in the Ariake Gymnastics Centre.
Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto had received 15.000 point for a spectacular horizontal bar performance in the final rotation.
That was good enough to snatch silver from China but Nagorny’s score which flashed up a minute later meant they missed gold by the fraction of .103 of a point with a tally of 262.397. The Chinese team amassed 261.864.
“I was waiting with baited breath and nervous,” Dalaloyan said. “But in the end we won the gold. We did it. We were all great.”
Hashimoto said: “We weren’t quite sure how the result would turn out. I was carrying the passion of the team. I was exhilarated when I landed. I didn’t even consider the colour of the medal.”
Team-mate Kauzuma Kata said that “it was very disappointing when we saw that gap of 0.1 points” and team-mate Wataru Tanigawa admitted “I thought we had won” after Hashimoto’s routine.
The men continue with the individual all-around on Wednesday, with Tuesday reserved for the women’s team event where the Russian athletes surprisingly led qualifying ahead of the American team with superstar Simone Biles.
Source: Ghana News Agency