Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram won five gold medals at the Rhythmic Gymnastics Grand Prix in Tel Aviv over the weekend.
Ashram won the ball, hoop, clubs, ribbon and all-around contests at the international competition.
Ashram said after the competition that she and her trainer have “worked very hard lately to improve and stabilize the exercises and we’re very satisfied with the result of our intensive work… we feel we’re arriving [at the Tokyo Olympics] as ready as we can be for the games.”
The Israeli team also picked up two gold medals — in the ball and all-around contests — at the tournament, which comes shortly before the start of the Olympics.
Ashram, who was born in the central region city of Rishon Lezion, has been competing in international contests since 2014. The 22-year-old, one of two rhythmic gymnasts representing Israel at this year’s games, is considered one of the top Israeli hopes for a gold medal at the Tokyo games.
“She is the number one ranked around the world right now. She’s the best of the best,” Joshua Halickman, an Israeli sports blogger and writer, said recently. “She’s definitely a heavy medal favorite. As long as she can keep to her great form, she’ll be fine.”
Maya Ronen, a reporter for Israel’s Sports Channel who will be accompanying the delegation to Tokyo next week, said all eyes will be on Ashram.
“It’s clear that Linoy Ashram is perhaps the most prominent [Israeli] candidate for a medal,” said Ronen.
“I really believe in her ability to rise to the top at the climactic moment,” she added. “I think at the Olympics, Linoy will give it her all, and her all will be worth a medal.”