Israeli gymnast Ashram snags gold, two silvers at Italy World Cup

Israel’s best Olympic hope keeps pace with Russian Averina wundertwins, who had skipped previous competitions due to COVID-19

Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram tossed, twisted and twirled her way into a gold medal and two silvers at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Italy Sunday.

Ashram, 21, won top honors in the Balls category, besting Russian twins and top-ranked rivals Dina and Arina Averina, in the last day of competition in Pesaro.

In the Hoops category, Ashram fell just 50 points short of Dina Averina, taking silver; she lost by a slightly wider margin to the other Averina sister in the Clubs category, where she also won silver.

She was beaten out by both sisters in the Ribbon category, where she finished sixth out of eight competitors.

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Posted by ‎איגוד ההתעמלות בישראל Israel Gymnastics‎ on Sunday, May 30, 2021

Ashram had won all-around gold medals at the World Cup in Bulgaria in March and at the European Championships in Kyiv in November, neither of which featured Russian competitors, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Rhythmic gymnastics is one of Israel’s stronger sports. Ashram has won numerous medals in recent years and is seen as one of the country’s leading hopes in the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.

Nicole Zelikman, the only other Israeli to qualify for the finals in Italy, finished fifth in the Ball final and seventh in Hoops.

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