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1ST LEAD First Rio gold for Russia from judo's Mudranov, who says more to come By Alexandra Mayer-Hohdahl, dpa

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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Judoka Beslan Mudranov on Saturday gave Russia its first gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after the nation escaped a doping-related blanket ban from the Games, predicting that more would come.

The two-time European champion Mudranov, 30, beat Kazakhstan‘s Yeldos Smetos with a golden score Waza-Ri in judo‘s 60-kilogram event.

"There has been a lot of psychological pressure that our country, Russia, has been subject to," Mudranov told journalists after his victory. "To win a gold medal on the very first day, of course it means a lot for my country."

"Our country will prove to everyone that we can win gold," he added. "I‘m pretty confident that this is not the last gold medal that we have won ... We came prepared and no one broke down under this psychological pressure."

Russia escaped a full Olympic ban when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to let the respective sports federations decide on Russian participation in Rio in the wake of grave allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping in the country.

Using strict criteria, with a final saying from the IOC, almost 280 Russians are now eligible to compete. They include the 12-strong judo team.



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