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Tokyo 2020

Israeli rhythmic gymnast Ashram in lead after three routines at Olympic final

Nicol Zelikman also hoping for a medal in Tokyo with ribbon discipline still to go; Israeli team finishes 4th in group all-around qualifiers

  • Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)
    Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)
  • Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)
    Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)
  • Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)
    Israel's Linoy Ashram competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)

Israel’s rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram was in the top position on the board after three of the four rotations in the competition final at the Olympics in Tokyo on Saturday.

Ashram scored 27.550 and came top in the first discipline of the individual contest with her hoop routine. She then came joint first in the second rotation — the ball routine — with a score of 28.300.

In the third rotation, clubs, Ashram received 28.650, holding her place at the top of the leaderboard with one rotation remaining.

However, the Israeli athlete faces stiff competition from Russian twins Dina and Arina Averina.

There are four disciplines in total — hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon.

Fellow Israeli gymnast Nicol Zelikman came in 10th and last place after the hoop routines, scoring 23.700. She fared better with the ball routine, scoring 24.150 and scored 25.600 for clubs.

Ashram finished third in the qualifying round on Friday after her hoop fell, and Zelikman finished seventh.

Israel’s Nicol Zelikman competes in the individual all-around final of the Rhythmic Gymnastics event during Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics centre in Tokyo, on August 7, 2021. (Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

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.

Also on Saturday, Israel qualified for the women’s rhythmic gymnastics group all-around, finishing 4th, behind Bulgaria, Russia and Italy. The group finals will take place Sunday.

Members of the team from Israel compete during group all-around rhythmic gymnastics qualification at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Aug. 7, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Earlier in the day, Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter finished the women’s marathon at the Tokyo Olympics in 66th place after dropping from the third spot in the final stretch of the 26-mile (42.195-kilometer) race.

Chemtai Salpeter had consistently been at the front of the lead group of runners in the race, held in blistering Tokyo heat that caused many top runners to quit in the final kilometers. As she entered the final kilometers, Israeli watchers had begun hoping she would bring Israel its first Olympic athletics medal.

Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter continues the race after after stopping the race one lap too early in the women’s 5000-meter final at the European Athletics Championships in the Olympic stadium in Berlin, Germany, August 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

But Chemtai Salpeter suddenly stopped running in the last four kilometers of the race, while in the third spot. She was thought to have dropped out, but then rallied to finish the race at 66th place, some 21 minutes after the winner, before collapsing from exhaustion.

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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