Rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin joined her fellow Olympic athletes in lighting candles on the second night of Hanukka.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The 32nd European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships get under way in Holon on Friday without Israel’s top gymnast Neta Rivkin.
The 24-year-old was forced to pull out due to an ankle injury, but will be fit to compete in the Rio Olympics in two months.
Rivkin, who won a bronze medal in the hoop final at last year’s European Championships, will be participating in her third Olympics after also competing in Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
“I’m very sorry that I’ll be unable to compete in the European Championships in front of my home crowd but this decision was made so that I’ll be fit to take part in Rio,” said Rivkin.
Over NIS 8 million was invested in the organization of the championships, which run until Sunday.
Israel’s best hope for medals will come in the team events.
The team of Yuval Filo, Alona Koshevatskiy, Ekaterina Levina, Karina Lykhvar and Ida Mayrin won three medals at the European Championships last summer in Baku, Azerbaijan, claiming a silver in the all-around final, a silver in the clubs and hoops and a bronze in the ribbons.
The Israel roster was rebuilt at the start of last year with the goal of reaching the Olympics for a third straight time in Rio 2016.
The previous national teams advanced to the final at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
In Rivkin’s absence, Victoria Filanovsky will be Israel’s top gymnast in the individual events.
The Israeli delegation will be competing against representatives from 37 countries, including multiple World and European championship gold medalists Yana Kudryavtseva and Margarita Mamun of Russia.