Tokyo Olympics: Israel’s Linoy Ashram ends Russian dominance in rhythmic gymnastics

Linoy Ashram (left) and Dina Averina
The Russian Olympic Committee submitted a protest to contest the scores but it was rejected, leaving Dina Averina (right) in tears.

Israel’s Linoy Ashram caused a huge upset in the Olympic rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around final, becoming the first non-Russian champion since 1996.

The 22-year-old toppled the long-standing reign by beating gold medal favourite Dina Averina of the Russian Olympic Committee into second place.

Averina was left in tears as the scores were revealed, and said she felt her awarded marks were too low.

“It’s very hard to talk at the moment,” Averina said afterwards.

“I can’t agree with how the scoring went today.”

She was consoled by her twin sister Arina, who finished fourth.

“And this is maybe the first time I disagree with the judges and I feel that Arina and I did not get [a high] enough score.”

The twins were favourites for the top medals having qualified in first and second.

Alina Harnasko earned bronze for Belarus.

Prior to Ashram’s victory, Israel’s best result in this event was a seventh-place finish by Neta Rivkin at London 2012.

“When I was young I dreamed to be in the Olympics and compete there and then I go and take a gold medal,” said Ashram.

“It’s like a dream I think, like I’m not here.”

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