On final day of Olympics, Team Israel preparing for last chance at medal

Israel's rhythmic gymnasts came in 6th place before heading to the final.

Israel's Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team  (photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel's Olympic rhythmic gymnastics team
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel’s rhythmic gymnastics national team aims to end the Rio Olympics on a sweet note for the blue-and-white delegation when it targets a place on the podium in Sunday’s final.
The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will come to a close on Sunday evening with a special closing ceremony.
The team of Yuval Filo, Alona Koshevatskiy, Ekaterina Levina, Karina Lykhvar and Ida Mayrin advanced to the group all-around final from sixth place overall on Saturday, registering a score of 34.883, 17.250 in the ribbons and 17.633 in the clubs and hoops.
Only the top eight teams progressed to the final. Spain qualified from first place with a score of 35.749, with Russia second (35.516) and Belarus third (35.433).
The Israel squad’s mere participation in Rio was in serious doubt last month after head coach Ira Vigdorchik was reported to have kicked gymnast Levina during training, opening a can of worms that rocked local gymnastics.
However, the team seemed unaffected on Saturday and is eyeing further improvement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Neta Rivkin finished the rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualifiers in a disappointing 13th place on Friday, failing to qualify for the final.
Only the top 10 advanced to Saturday’s final. Rivkin was hoping for a repeat of her seventh-place finish in London four years ago, but could only manage a score of 69.223, making costly mistakes in her hoop and ribbon exercises.
“I gave my all, but things didn’t work out for me,” said Rivkin, who was participating in her third Olympics. “The mistakes cost me a place in the final. I’m going to take a break before deciding what to do next.”
On Saturday, Laetitia Beck ended the women’s golf competition tied for 31st place at 2-over-par. Beck registered a one-under-par 70 in her final round on Saturday after posting an even-par 71 on Friday.
“I’m never pleased with how I play so I’m a little disappointed with the final result,” said Beck. “I’m happy I had the opportunity to compete at the Olympics and I’m sure I’ll do better in Tokyo 2020.”
On Sunday, three Israelis take part in the men’s marathon. Tesama Moogas, Marhu Teferi and Ageze Guadie all enter the race with little expectations, hoping for a top-half finish.
Moogas focused on the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the start of his career, but secured his place in Rio in what was just his second competitive marathon.
Teferi is the national half-marathon champion, while Guadie is one of the more surprising members of Israel’s delegation to Rio, beating the Olympic qualifying time by a mere nine seconds.
Also Sunday, Shlomi Haimy competes in the men’s mountain bike cross-country race. Israel will be represented in an Olympic mountain biking competition for the first time after the national team earned one berth by being ranked in 22nd place in the UCI Olympic qualification rankings.