After breaking world record, Israeli gymnast Ashram bags 2nd gold medal

In World Challenge Cup in Minsk, 19-year-old talent wins clubs competition, clinches bronze in balls phase after winning all-round phase on Saturday

Israeli gymnastics superstar Linoy Ashram on Sunday won a second gold medal and a bronze at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup in Minsk, after breaking the world record in the clubs-handling round a day earlier on the way to winning the all-round phase of the competition.

In the clubs-handling final, the 19-year-old Ashram didn’t quite match her record score of 20.65 achieved on Saturday — the highest since the point-awarding system was changed two years ago — but her 20.25 was enough to comfortably secure the gold medal over Russian Alexandra Soldatova’s 19.6 and Belarussian Anastasia Salos’s 19.35.

The Israeli athlete added another bronze medal to her impressive performance in the balls final, scoring 19.35 — tied with Salos, who finished second thanks to a higher difficulty score. The gold medal was won by Russia’s Ekaterina Selezneva who scored 19.9.

A second Israeli, 17-year-old Nicol Zelikman, came in seventh place with a balls demonstration that earned a 17.2 score.

Ashram missed the podium in the hoop phase, where she dropped the apparatus once and came sixth with a score of 18.65. Zelikman finished eighth with a score of 17.

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev hailed Ashram’s achievement, saying the gymnast was “continuing to make us extremely proud and breaking every record possible.”

“Within less than 24 hours, the Israeli flag has twice flown proudly at the top of the gymnastics hall in Minsk and the national anthem was played twice,” Regev said in a statement.

“After last night’s phenomenal performance, Linoy Ashram kept showcasing her outstanding abilities and won two more medals,” Regev added. “Linoy’s terrific achievements are inspiring. Linoy, you are wonderful!”

Ashram’s world record clubs demonstration on Saturday had surpassed the 20.05 record set at the 2018 European Championships by Russian Dina Averina. She went on to receive a final score of 77.800 in the all-round stage, which includes hoop, clubs, ball and ribbon, winning the gold medal.

The Israeli Olympic Committee noted that Ashram is the first person in the history of the Challenge Cup to win two gold medals in one season, after she won a gold in the competition in Spain in May.

Ashram hopes to improve her results later this year at the World Championships in Bulgaria. Last year she finished third in the all-around competition at the Championships in Italy, making her the first Israeli to ever win a medal in the category.

Prior to Ashram’s performance in Pesaro, Italy, the best result for an Israeli in the category was Neta Rivkin’s seventh place finish at the 2015 world championships.

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