Innovative Israeli acrobatic gymnasts heading for Worlds

Young athletes to compete in Portugal next month.

gymnasts 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
gymnasts 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For acrobatic gymnasts Chen Avram, Tal Even Chen and Sharon Topaz, completing unprecendented moves is nothing new. On their way to winning the Israeli Acrobatics Championships at the Begin Sports Hall in Holon on Saturday, the athletes performed a stunning routine including various positions that have never been seen before. It is this creativity, where each performance includes many completely new details, which marks the trio out as one of the best ever Israeli acrobatic gymnastics teams. And the group will get their chance to test their skills against the best in the world when they become the first Israeli team to compete in the senior division at the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships, taking place in Coimbra, Portugal, June 11-19. In a sport that requires the athleticism of gymnastics and the rhythm of dancing, these teammates relish the opportunity to use their imagination to execute innovative movements and positions. Avram, 18, told The Jerusalem Post that the trio moves in new ways everyday in practice. "There is no end to things you can do [in acrobatic gymnastics]," she said. "Every practice includes something we have never done before because there are so many possibilities." The "Tower" move, an element requiring strength, balance and flexibility - highlighted one of the team's final routines on Saturday. After Topaz managed to move gracefully whislt balanced on top of the other two, the crowd erupted and the team's coach pumped her fist in the air. It's this creativity that drew Avram away from time-based sports like running. And maybe it's this freedom that Avram experiences in the gym with her teammates, who she calls her "sisters," that keeps her going through her seemingly restless schedule. To complete her army service and continue competing, she wakes up early to work in the army so that she can get to Holon, where she trains, for the five-hour long, daily practices. But the training is only half as much as the more professional teams such as the Russians, Americans and Portuguese. With a limited amount of practice time, Avram realizes the chances of winning the competition are slim, but said that the opportunity to represent Israel in international competition is exciting, nonetheless. "Because this is our first time in the senior division, we don't know how the world is going to react to us. We are really hoping to get to the finals and be in the top eight." The senior trio is one of four Israeli groups that qualified for Portugal after their performances in Holon. Dana Dvir, Kesem Cohen and Galia Mambov of Hapoel Begin Holon qualified in the 11-16 age group trio division. In the 11-16 age group duo competition, two Israeli squads qualified for Coimbra, Daniel Danzinger and Shani Perez from Maccabi Dan and Shiran Vakhnin and Ania Kolesnik from Hapoel Holon. The age group qualifiers will compete from June 19-25.