Dazzling in this year’s championships in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu, the 23-year-old earned gold medals in the hoop and ball competitions on Wednesday to take her tally to 13 individual world titles, moving level with two-time Olympic gold medalist Evgeniya Kanaeva.
Tokyo Games silver medalist Averina performed to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ on her way to finishing nearly two points clear of Belarusian Alina Harnasko in the hoop showdown.
Averina then beat her twin sister, Arina, to ball gold with a score of 27.675 despite having the most difficult tariff of the eight finalists.
She now needs only two more triumphs to match Kanaeva’s 17 overall titles, won between 2007 and 2011.
“I am pleased to congratulate you on the double-triumph in Japan,” read a statement from Putin, who signed a decree to give Averina state awards following her achievement at the 2020 Games.
“You have outstandingly opened ‘the gold medal count’ for our team, confidently winning in the hoop and ball exercises and becoming the 15-time World Champion.”
Fans were enthralled by the 10-time European Championships winner’s latest feat.
“What an astounding hoop gold medal performance at the World Championships,” said one.
Another referenced Averina’s contentious position behind Israeli star Linoy Ashram in Japan by saying: “I guess Dina Averina took the Olympics seriously.
“And she came back to kick some ass. Too bad Linoy is not here, because it’d be epic.”
Italian Sofia Raffaeli finished third in the hoop, with Harnasko securing bronze in the ball competition.
The championships continue until October 31.
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