Israeli Linoy Ashram notched a silver medal in the individual Hoops competition at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships this week as she continued to twirl her way toward the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo..
(photo credit: OCI/COURTESY)
Whether it’s Hoop, Ball, Clubs or Ribbon, Israeli rhythmic gymnast Linoy Ashram is making a name for herself after winning 24 medals across all competitions this past year. Just this week, Ashram became the first Sabra to take home a silver medal in the World Championships being held in Sofia, Bulgaria, in the Hoop discipline and her future couldn’t be brighter.
The 19-year old began training as a rhythmic gymnast at the age of seven and took part in her first international competition as a 12-year-old. Since then, it’s been up, up and away for the unstoppable Ashram. Having won medals of all colors, shapes and sizes – from Grand Prix to World Games and European Championships – the silver medal at the World Championships is the result of Ashram’s continuing upward arc thanks to her determination, desire and hard work to be the best of the best.
Ashram may be in the headlines now as she continues her climb towards greatness, but her illustrious past will show that there was never a doubt that the Rishon Lezion native was a star in the making.
As a junior, Ashram won bronze medals at the 2014 Junior European Championships, which propelled her to the Youth Olympic Games in China where she was the Israeli flag bearer at the closing ceremonies. That same November she won her first competitive gold medal in the all-around in Austria.
After a successful year, Ashram made her senior circuit debut at the 2015 Moscow Grand Prix, where she finished an impressive fourth in the all-around.
From there, the rest was history. Ashram became a medal threat at every single competition she entered and took home five medals at the 2015 Brno, Czech Republic Grand Prix. 2016 saw Ashram continue to pick up hardware, winning a variety of medals in Eilat, Tashkent and Ljubljana.
2017 was another banner year for Ashram as she not only won five medals at the Maccabiah Games, but also hit the jackpot at last year’s World Championships held in Pesaro, Italy. Ashram won a pair of bronze medals in the all-around and Ribbon exercises, becoming the first Israeli rhythmic gymnast to win an individual all-around medal and the only the second Israeli to win a medal in the competition.
Following Israel’s 70th birthday, Ashram became the first Israeli to win gold in the all-around in the World Cup Series which she captured in May at the 2018 Guadalajara World Cup which was yet another sign of things to come for the starlet.
Can Ashram continue her trajectory? Where do the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games rank as a priority and where is the sport headed in the land of milk and honey?
One person who would know is the recently retired Neta Rivkin, one of Israel’s most decorated athletes and the first blue-and-white rhythmic gymnast to take home a bronze medal in Hoop. The 27-year old from Petah Tikva spoke this week right after Ashram’s World Championship silver medal.
“Linoy is not only a top rhythmic gymnast, she is one of the best in the world and finds herself at the height of her career. She has absolutely amazing abilities,” said Rivkin. “There is exactly two years until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games which is Linoy’s ultimate goal. In order for Linoy to reach this milestone in top shape, she needs to stay healthy and maintain her world ranking, which is quite high, and make sure it stays where it currently is.”
It’s clear that rhythmic gymnastics in one of the sports that Israel has been able to make a significant mark.
“Thanks to a series of impressive achievements and results over the past decade, Israel has become a rhythmic gymnastics powerhouse. Today, we are considered as one of the best countries in the world in the sport.”
Ashram is joined my 17-year old Nicol Zelikman who is also making a name for herself in the same field and is climbing the ladder of success slowly but surely with a number of top-10 performances so far at the World Championships.
The future is certainly bright for Israel when it comes to rhythmic gymnastics and there is definitely a global star on the rise in Linoy Ashram.Joshua Halickman, the Sports Rabbi, covers Israeli sports and organizes Israel Sports Adventures for tourists and residents. Follow the Sports Rabbi on Twitter @thesportsrabbi or visit www.sportsrabbi.com. Contact the Sports Rabbi via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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