Johnston wins gymnastics gold

A FIERCE rival and a gate-crashing grasshopper couldn't stop rhythmic gymnast, Lismore's Naazmi Johnston on her quest to gold medal glory in Delhi.

Johnston has become the first Australian to win the all-around rhythmic gymnastics competition in 16 years at the Commonwealth Games after winning the gold medal late on Wednesday night.

Johnston put in a powerhouse performance to score 100.100, beating top qualifying Cypriot Chrystelleni Trikomiti by 1.125 points.

And she added her third gold medal at the Games with victory in the ball final on Thursday, scoring 25.100 points to beat Malaysian Elaine Koon (24.500) in second and Trikomiti (24.35) in third.

These victories follow on from her gold medal in the teams competition on Tuesday night.

However, Johnston's quest to equal fellow Australian gymnast Kasumi Takahashi's record six gold medals at the 1994 Victoria Games in Canada fell short after she was beaten into second place in both the rope and ribbon finals and fourth in the hoop final.

Johnston scored an impressive 25.100 with her rope routine but was pipped by Trikomiti who won gold with 25.800. Koon took bronze with 24.950.

And Johnston fell short again in the ribbon final, earning 24.600 points to finish behind Trikomiti (25.700) to win silver with Koon again third.

Johnston was forced to deal with a large green grasshopper in the all-around final, with the insect coming on to the main stage, inches from her feet, at the halfway point of her routine.

The surprise guest didn't hamper Johnston as she soldiered on through her third rotation before setting up a grandstand finish as she tried to get ahead on points over her Cypriot counterpart.

Johnston finished strong despite the grasshopper touching the hoop, seemingly determined to rub her out of gold medal contention.

“I can't believe it was a grasshopper, at first I thought it was a moth,” Johnston said later. “It was a bit of a shock but you still have to get up and do your routine, you can't let a grasshopper affect you.”

Johnston's coach, Sydney Olympian Danielle LeRay has backed her to go all the way with her nothing- to- lose mentality.

“I couldn't have asked for better,” LeRay said. “She held it together and fought to the end.”



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