The members of Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics national team pose with the gold medals they won yesterday in the ribbons final at the World Cup competition in Baku, Azerbaijan..
(photo credit: (OLYMPICS COMMITTEE OF ISRAEL/COURTESY))
Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics national team ended its final competition before the Rio Olympics with a gold medal on Sunday, finishing in first place in the ribbons final at the World Cup event in Baku, Azerbaijan.
After two weeks in which it made headlines for all the wrong reasons, the team of Yuval Filo, Alona Koshevatskiy, Ekaterina Levina, Karina Lykhvar and Ida Mayrin, added a gold to the silver it won in the all-around on Saturday by registering a score of 18.500 in the final.
Russia finished in second place (18.350), with Spain (18.250) coming in third.
The national team also took part in the clubs and hoops final on Sunday, finishing in fourth with a score of 18.250.
Medals are only awarded in the all-around competition at the Olympics.
The event in Baku was the team’s last before it leaves for Rio and first since a committee set up by the Israel Gymnastics Association looked into the conduct of head coach Ira Vigdorchik.
The committee announced last week that Vigdorchik will continue in her role as the head coach, but will no longer personally guide the squad.
The committee was set up in light of allegations that Vigdorchik kicked gymnast Levina during training ahead of the World Cup event in Russia earlier this month.
Vigdorchik, who was with the team in Baku, denied the accusations, but a letter sent to the IGA by the parents of the gymnasts claimed that she repeatedly abused them, both verbally and physically, and drinks alcohol during training and competitions.
Nevertheless, the IGA’s committee decided that Vigdorchik will continue to be in charge of the team’s preparations for the Rio Olympics, while coaches Ela Samofalov, Raya Irgo and choreographer Ayelet Zusman will be the ones who physically coach the gymnasts in the gym.
Neta Rivkin, who will represent Israel in the rhythmic gymnastics individual competition in Rio, also scaled the podium in Baku on Sunday, taking a bronze in the ball final with a score of 18.500.