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Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram scoops gold, 2 silvers at European championships

Athlete takes top prize in clubs routine, 2nd place in both ball and hoop categories; national team bags a gold and two bronzes for group routines

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture from video of Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram during her gold medal performance in the clubs routine at the European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, June 13, 2012. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram during her gold medal performance in the clubs routine at the European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, June 13, 2012. (Twitter)

Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram scored a slew of medals within a few hours on Sunday, winning a gold, two silvers, and a bronze at the European Championships in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Varna, Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, Israel’s team at the contest won a gold medal and two bronzes.

Ashram took medals in three out of the four rhythmic gymnast disciplines, which are clubs, ball, hoop, and ribbons.

Her routine with a pair of clubs scored Ashram 28.500 points and the gold medal.

For her ball routine, she scored 28.600, putting her behind Russian Dina Averian, who scored a winning 28.850. Fellow Israeli competitor Nicol Zelikmann came in fifth with 26.775 points.

In the hoops, Ashram scored 27.850, and was again denied the gold by Averian with 28.350.

According to the official Olympic website, it was the first time that a non-Russian gymnast had won a gold in the individual apparatus events since 2011. Russia did not compete in the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In the ribbon routine, Ashram, 22, finished fourth.

Shortly after her wins, the Israeli team won a bronze medal for a group routine using five balls, then secured a gold medal for a routine using three hoops and two pairs of clubs. The prizes were added to the bronze they won the day before in the overall team contest.

Israel wins the European gold for their 3 hoops and 2 pairs of clubs exercise!#EChVarna2021

Posted by European Gymnastics on Sunday, June 13, 2021

Speaking to Hebrew media, Ashram said she is now setting her sights on the Tokyo Olympics, set to be held in August this year.

“I am very happy,” Ashram told the Kan public broadcaster after her win and added that she feels she is constantly improving.

“It was a very intense and difficult contest,” she said, describing how at the end of each day she would motivate herself to perform even better on the next.

“The focus is on the Olympics,” she said, although she also needs to train and compete in other competitions before she gets to Tokyo.

“At every competition, I learn how to improve and correct more things in order to go to the Olympics as prepared as possible,” she told Army Radio.

Screen capture from video of Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram with the medals she won at the European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria, June 13, 2012. (Twitter)

The results came the day after Ashram lost her all-around European championship title to Averian’s twin sister, Arina, who took the gold. Dina Averian took the bronze while Ashram missed out on a medal.

On Saturday, in the overall group contest, the Israeli team won bronze with 286.650 points, behind silver medalists Belarus with 290.575 points, and Russia with 305.675, which took the gold.

Ashram, who was born in the central region city of Rishon Lezion, has been competing in international contests since 2014.

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