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Olympics: Stunning Dasha sets new record for Belarus

Belarus' Darya Domracheva put in a phenomenal skiing performance to win her second biathlon gold of the Sochi Olympics, and become the first person from the ex-Soviet state to win multiple Winter Games golds.

SOCHI, Russia: Belarus' Darya Domracheva put in a phenomenal skiing performance on Friday to win her second biathlon gold of the Sochi Olympics, and become the first person from the ex-Soviet state to win multiple Winter Games golds.

Domracheva, who already clinched the pursuit gold this week, was simply in a class of her own in the women's 15 km individual at the Laura biathlon centre.

She was penalised for one missed target in her first standing shoot but was simply too fast on skis for her opponents to get near.

The Belarussian, 27, known as "Dasha" to her friends, finished in 43min 19.6sec, 1min 15.7sec ahead of her nearest rival Selina Gasparin of Switzerland who took a surprise silver and shot clear.

Fellow Belarussian Nadezhda Skardino, who was born in Russia but switched allegiance to Belarus, took bronze in 44min 57.8sec.

Home favourite Olga Zaitseva thrilled the crowd with a strong early performance but two missed targets buried her hopes and she finished 15th.

Domracheva's victory makes her the first Belarussian athlete ever to win more than one gold medal at Winter Games.

Belarussian freestyle skier Alexei Grishin won the men's freestyle aerials in Vancouver in 2010 but no Belarussian woman had ever won gold before at the Winter Olympics until Sochi.

"Oh my god, I think it means a lot for the whole country. I hope that I inspire other people," said Domracheva.

"Yesterday there was a lot of questions about how I would feel. I tried to calm down and let the emotions of yesterday stay with yesterday."

Silver medallist Gasparin managed to choose some occasion to shoot clear for the first time in competition, in race where she was joined by no less than two of her siblings.

"It's so cool to shoot clean for the first time in my life. After the last shot, when I saw that it was like, wow," she said.

"Since I've never shot clean, I didn't know how that feels.

Her sister Elisa finished 33rd and her other sister Aita came 62nd.

Switzerland has never before won a medal in Olympic biathlon and its only previous medal in a skiing/shooting event was gold in the men's military ski patrol in 1924, an even no longer in the Games.

Although born in Minsk, Domracheva moved to Siberia in Russia at an early age with her architect parents.

It was in Siberia that she took her first steps in biathlon and turned out for the Russian junior biathlon team.

But she returned to her native Minsk and was rapidly approached by Belarussian coaches with an offer to become a member of the Belarussian biathlon squad.

Her success and the medal won by the Leningrad- (now Saint Petersburg) born Skardino will raise fresh concern in Russia that it has allowed top athletes to slip through the system.

Skardino moved to represent Belarus after failing to break into the Russian national team.

Russian-born Anastasiya Kuzmina won gold for Slovakia in the biathlon sprint, while Iouri Podladtchikov who was born in Moscow won gold for Switzerland in the snowboard halfpipe.

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