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Rhythmic gymnastics team finish sixth, concluding best-ever Olympics for Israel

Two routines not enough for a medal after Linoy Ashram’s individual all-around gold; Israeli runner finishes 13th in men’s marathon

Team Israel competes in the group all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 8, 2021. (Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)
Team Israel competes in the group all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 8, 2021. (Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics team finished in sixth place in the team final all-around event at the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, at the end of what has been the Jewish state’s most successful run ever at the Games.

Israeli athletes won two gold and two bronze medals during the contest, which closes on Sunday.

For the rhythmic gymnastics final, the Israeli team of Yana Kramarenko, Natalie Raits, Yuliana Telegina, Karin Vexman, and captain Ofir Dayan performed two routines, the first with five balls and the second using a combination of hoops and clubs.

For their ball exercise, the team scored 44.100, putting them in fifth place. For their second routine, they scored 39.750, giving them a total of 83.850 for a sixth-place finish.

Bulgaria won the gold, the Russian Olympic Committee took silver, and Italy the bronze medal. Russian athletes at the games are competing as a committee rather than a national team due to a doping scandal.

The results came the day after Israel’s rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram won a gold medal in the individual event, the third gold the country has ever won at an Olympics, and the first by a woman.

Her medal came six days after gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won a gold medal for his floor routine in men’s artistic gymnastics.

From left, silver medalist Dina Averina, of Russian Olympic Committee, gold medalist Linoy Ashram, of Israel, and bronze medalist Alina Harnasko, of Belarus, stand on the podium after the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final at the 2020 Summer Olympics, on Saturday, August 7, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP/Ashley Landis)

As well as the two golds, Israel’s Olympic team had already picked up two bronze medals in Tokyo — for the judo mixed team, and Avishag Semberg for taekwondo in the women’s 49kg category.

The Tokyo games are thus Israel’s most successful since it has never previously won more than two medals at any one Olympics.

Israeli windsurfer Gal Fridman won the first-ever gold for Israel in Athens in 2004.

Though they didn’t medal, Israeli runners chalked up some notable achievements in the men’s marathon Sunday, where Maru Teferi finished 13th with a time of 2:13:02. Girmaw Amare finished in 28th place with a time of 2:16:26 and another runner, Haimro Alame, finished 37th with a time of 2:27:17.

Tachlowini Gabriyesos, an Eritrean runner who lives and trains in Israel and who was running for the Olympics Refugee Committee, finished in 16th place with a time of 2:14:02.

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