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Going for gold

In medal mix-up, Karatsev briefly takes gold for his tennis partner

With players required to don own medals because of COVID, Russian-Israeli accidentally picks up the top award for his partner after they won silver in Olympic mixed doubles

Russia's Aslan Karatsev attempts to give a gold medal to his mixed doubles tennis partner Russia's Elena Vesnina during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal ceremony at the Ariake Tennis Park on August 1, 2021. They actually won the silver medals (Twitter screenshot)
Russia's Aslan Karatsev attempts to give a gold medal to his mixed doubles tennis partner Russia's Elena Vesnina during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medal ceremony at the Ariake Tennis Park on August 1, 2021. They actually won the silver medals (Twitter screenshot)

Aslan Karatsev and his partner Elena Vesnina almost won gold medals in the mixed doubles tennis on Sunday.

Then Karatsev almost snagged one for his partner in the medal ceremony.

Having lost to fellow Russians  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev in the deciding third set tie-break to end the game 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 13-11, it was not surprising Karatsev still had his eye on the gold.

And so when the medal ceremony took place, Karatsev reached down to take the gold off the medal tray and attempted to hang it around Vesnina’s neck, before being stopped by officials and an amused Vesnina who pointed out his mistake.

Due to COVID restrictions, athletes have to don their own medals.

After a small correction, they both ended up with their correct silver medals.

Silver medallists Russia’s Elena Vesnina and Russia’s Aslan Karatsev put on their respective medal during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic mixed doubles tennis medal ceremony at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. (Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Vesnina and Karatsev had knocked out men’s world number one Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic of Serbia in the semi-finals, but could not strike gold.

Karatsev, 27, plays for Russia but grew up and trained in Israel from age three to 12 and speaks fluent Hebrew.

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