LONDON – Israel’s representatives in the rhythmic gymnastics competitions begin their Olympics on Thursday, looking to bring a little cheer to a despondent delegation following the failure to win a medal for the first time since the 1988 Games.

Neta Rivkin, competing in the individual all-around qualification, and the Israel team, taking part in the group all-around qualification, will be expecting to make their respected finals following the end of the two days of qualifying on Friday, but neither have a realistic chance of reaching the podium.

At just 17-years-old, Rivkin was the youngest member of the Israeli delegation to the Beijing Games four years ago.

Rivkin was added to the delegation as one of three up-and-coming athletes who fell just short of the criteria and exceeded all expectations by ending the competition in 14th place.

She showed consistent progress in the four years since, ending the all-around competition at the World Championships in Montpellier, France in 10th position last year.


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Rivkin will perform with each apparatus (rope, hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon) in the qualification round, with the top 10 athletes advancing to the final for one more routine with each apparatus.

The Israel team, which includes Polina Zakaluzny, Eliora Zholkovsky, Viktoriya Koshel, Noa Palatchy, Moran Buzovski and Marina Shults (only five will compete), will perform with five balls for the first routine and in the second routine will perform using three ribbons and two hoops. The scores for these routines will be combined and the top eight groups will progress to the final.

All six members of the current team were not part of the Israel side which finished in sixth place at the Beijing Games, but will be aiming to repeat their predecessors’ achievement.

The women’s 470 Class sailing team of Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila ended their disappointing Olympics in 15th place on Wednesday, finishing the day’s races in 12th and 17th.

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