USA's Virginia Thrasher wins first gold of Rio 2016

Thrasher — who became the American champion in June — amassed 208 points across the nine rounds at the Olympic Shooting Centre, beating Chinese duo Du Li and Yi Siling to the gold medal.

Virginia Thrasher with Du Li (left) and Yi Siling (right).

Virginia Thrasher triumphed in the women's 10m Air Rifle event with a stunning performance, with the other medals going to Chinese athletes.   -  AP

United States claimed the first gold medal of Rio 2016 as Virginia Thrasher triumphed in the women's 10-metre air rifle event on Saturday. The 19-year-old had flown under the radar ahead of the Games but showed impressive accuracy to claim the title by one point with an Olympic Record.

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Thrasher — who became the American champion in June — amassed 208 points across the nine rounds at the Olympic Shooting Centre, beating Chinese duo Du Li and Yi Siling to the gold medal.

"It was nerve-wracking. My heart was pounding but I would not have changed it," Thrasher said. "I just had a plan today to do the best I could and I'm happy with my result."

Li had to battle for her place during the finals but she surged back into contention late on. However, beating Thrasher proved too much, with the Chinese shooter finishing on 207 points.

"I've been retired for two years so when I returned I did not expect to do so well," said Du.

"It has been difficult because the rules have changed and I have to get used to it. My family have been very supportive, I have a baby, six years old, and do not have enough time to give to her."

For defending champion Yi the final looked to be going well in the early rounds, but she slipped down the rankings and had to settle for bronze — 22.6 points adrift of the top spot.

"It has not been easy. My condition has not been very good and I found it difficult with movement. It's a psychological condition," Yi said.

Thrasher's team-mate Sarah Scherer was first eliminated in the final, with Snjezana Pejcic, Elaheh Ahmadi, Daria Vdovina and Barbara Engleder also finishing outside of the medals.

Earlier, Li set a new Olympic Record, topping the qualification charts with a total score of 420.7.

Results:

1. Virginia Thrasher (U.S.) 208.0 points

2. Du Li (China) 207.0

3. Yi Siling (China) 185.4

4. Barbara Engleder (Germany) 165.0

5. Daria Vdovina (Russia) 143.5

6. Elaheh Ahmadi (Iran) 122.5

7. Snjezana Pejcic (Croatia) 102.0

8. Sarah Scherer (U.S.) 78.6