Israeli gymnast wins bronze medal at European championships

Alex Shalitov registered a score of 15.300 points to finish in third place and collect his sixth career medal in the event.

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May 29, 2016 15:58
1 minute read.
Israel's Alex Shatilov claimed his sixth career medal at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championsh

Israel's Alex Shatilov claimed his sixth career medal at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships yesterday, taking a bronze in the floor exercise in Bern, Switzerland. . (photo credit: (OLYMPICS COMMITTEE OF ISRAEL/COURTESY)‏)

Alex Shatilov picked up some much-needed confidence ahead of the Rio Olympics on Sunday, claiming a bronze medal in the floor exercise at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Bern, Switzerland.

The 29-year-old Israeli registered a score of 15.300 points to finish in third place and collect his sixth career medal in the event. Nikita Nagornyy of Russia won the gold with a score of 15.566, with Marian Dragulescu of Romania taking a silver with 15.333.

Shatilov's return to the podium at the continental championships is an especially encouraging sign for Israel's greatest ever gymnast after he only came fourth in last year's European final in Montpellier, France, missing out on a medal in the event for the first time since 2008.

He scaled the podium in each of his previous five appearances at the championships, winning bronze medals in 2009, 2012 and 2014, a silver in 2011 and a gold in 2013. He missed the competition in 2010 due to injury.

Shatilov has recorded groundbreaking achievements for local gymnastics throughout his career, but had struggled with form over the past couple of years. He finished the floor final in Beijing 2008 in eighth place before going on to claim two bronze medals at the World Championships (2009, 2011). However, after arriving at the previous Olympics in London as a medal candidate, ultimately finishing in sixth, Shatilov will enter Rio with far lower expectations, although Sunday's triumph will certainly give him plenty of encouragement.

Shatilov will participate in his third straight Olympics this summer, only securing his place in Rio last month after finishing in 10th place in the All-Around competition at the Olympic Test Event held in the host city.

"I want to go as far as possible in Rio," said Shatilov last month. "I live and work for this. I will try and strengthen my floor exercise until Rio and I hope to do my best." Israeli Gymnastics Association chairman Ophir Pines-Paz hailed Shatilov's achievement.

"Shatilov proved for the countless time that he is the greatest Israeli gymnast of all-time and one of Israel's greatest ever athletes," said Pines-Paz. "Alex lifts his performance when it matters most and will arrive at the Olympics in good form."


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