Neta Rivkin
Rivkin on Tuesday in the hoop competition. Photo by AFP
Text size

Neta Rivkin established herself Tuesday night as one of artistic gymnastics' best athletes when she won the bronze medal in the individual hoop final at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Montpelier, France. It was the first world rhythmic gymnastics medal ever won by an Israeli.

The 20-year old finished with 28.0 points, behind Russian Olympic champion Evgenia Kanaeva, who scored 29.3 points, and Kanaeva's teammate Daria Kondakova, who came in second with 29.05 points. Rivkin later finished seventh in the ball final, after dropping the apparatus.

"I went for the medal and I wanted it very much," said Rivkin of her feat. "Words cannot describe what I'm feeling and my joy. I have a powerful desire to bring more achievements to our small and beautiful land." Rivkin credited her coaches for working day and night toward her success.

Rivkin won silver in the hoop at the European Championships earlier this year. The finals for the club and the ribbon events will be held today. "I can't celebrate too much," Rivkin said Tuesday. "I'm only in the middle of the competition and have to stay focused. I got a lot of congratulations, including from other delegations, but I need to concentrate ahead of the main mission - meeting the Olympics criterion."

Yesterday, she scored 27.475 points in the club competition preliminaries.

The goal for Rivkin is to reach Friday's final of the all-around event and to place in the top 15. She was ranked fifth after completing the first two events. Three of the four events are calculated for the final ranking of the preliminaries.

Israel's other participant, Victoria Filanovsky, in the competition has struggled so far. On Tuesday, she finished 53rd in the ball competition and was 39th overall. Yesterday, she scored 25.250 points in the club competition.