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By Ian Ransom
RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 7 (Reuters) - South Korea’s archery queens shot brilliantly in swirling winds to fell Russia in the Olympic final on Sunday and extend the nation’s unbroken reign in the team event to an eighth successive Games.
The trio of Ki Bo-bae, Choi Mi-sun and Chang Hye-jin were unflappable at the gusty Sambadrome, routing their opponents 5-1 and sending Korean fans in the terraces into raptures.
Ki, the defending champion in the individual event, was magnificent, striking four perfect scores and landing the winning shot to clinch her third gold medal.
The 28-year-old savoured the flavour of the precious metal, the only one of the three to have competed at London.
“This is my third gold medal. The taste is so good, that’s why I say it’s like my mum’s soup, because this is just the best,” she told reporters through a translator.
Their win came a day after South Korea restored their dynasty in the men’s team event with victory over the United States. They had suffered a shock defeat to the Americans in the London semi-finals.
The men’s team roared from the crowd with every arrow, watching a performance to inspire them for the individual event.
The women’s victory moment was delayed for a few moments, as officials jogged down to verify Ki’s final score on the target.
But when it was confirmed, they pounced on their coach Yang Chang-hoon in a bear hug and wept joyfully as they jumped up and down on the shooting platform.
Elegant in matching bucket hats and starched-white vests, the winners beamed as they were given the medals but no tears were shed on the podium.
Never threatened by opponents Japan, Taiwan and the Russians, they were not going to let their emotions win during the national anthem.
“Of course it is very important for me that I was there to achieve the seventh and eighth gold medal in a row for the Korean team,” Ki said.
“I thought of all those people who really supported us. It was not won only by the three of us.”
Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova and Inna Stepanova were thrilled to win silver for Russia, coming through a nerve-jangling shoot-off against Italy.
They had fearing being banned from the Games due to revelations of state-sponsored doping in the country.
”Yes of course it’s special ... we were very nervous about what’s going on with this kind of stuff.
“But we believed and trained every day and waited. We believed that commons sense would win.”
Taiwan’s Le Chien-ying, Lin Shih-chia and Tan Ya-ting held off the Italians in the playoff to capture bronze. (Editing by Bill Rigby and Alison Williams)