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Tokyo 2020

Israel’s two medal-hope rhythmic gymnasts advance to Saturday’s Olympic finals

Linoy Ashram earns top score in routine with ball as both she and Nicol Zelikman finish among top 10 in qualifiers

Linoy Ashram (L) and Nicol Zelikman (R) are seen during the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 6, 2021. (Israel Olympic Committee)
Linoy Ashram (L) and Nicol Zelikman (R) are seen during the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 6, 2021. (Israel Olympic Committee)

Israeli rhythmic gymnasts Linoy Ashram and Nicol Zelikman earned spots in Saturday’s final round at the Tokyo Summer Games, giving them a shot at winning Olympic medals.

Ashram had a shaky start in Friday’s qualifier, scoring 23.500 in the first round after her hoop fell, dropping some points.

However, Ashram scored 28.250 in her routine with the ball, coming first place in that round.

She also had a score of 27.850 in her third routine with a pair of clubs and 23.500 in her final routine with the ribbon.

Zelikman scored 24.350 in her hoop routine, 25.500 with the ball, 24.950 with the clubs and 21.100 with the ribbon.

Overall, Ashram and Zelikman finished third and seventh, respectively, allowing them to move into Saturday’s final round and giving them a chance at medals during the Summer Games.

Linoy Ashram is seen during the rhythmic gymnastics competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on August 6, 2021. (Israel Olympic Committee)

Ashram, 22, has been competing in international contests since 2014. She has 91 medals from various international competitions under her belt so far.

Zelikman, 20, won her first medals during the 2016 Junior European Championships in Holon.

Later Friday, Israel’s equestrian team was knocked out of competition in the jumping contest after failing to place among the top 10 national squads, with Teddy Vlock falling off his horse.

So far Israel’s Olympic team has picked up three medals: Gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won Israel’s second-ever Olympic gold medal Sunday, the judo mixed team won Bronze on Saturday, and taekwondo fighter Avishag Semberg took bronze in the women’s 49kg category a week earlier.

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