Jewish gymnasts shine at home and away
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Jewish gymnasts shine at home and away

Young Jewish Australian gymnasts shone in major events on either side of the world late last month, executing gravity-defying technical skills and elegant routines.

Photo: Alexander Bogatyrev/Gymnastics Australia
Photo: Alexander Bogatyrev/Gymnastics Australia

INSPIRATIONAL teenage rhythmic gymnastics star Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva proudly declared last week she is “live proof it is possible to combine high performance sport and strong VCE year 12 studies at school”.

The hard-working 17-year-old King David School student and 2018 Commonwealth Games two-time bronze medal winner returned home to Melbourne last week to dive back into her textbooks after a memorable fortnight of representing Australia at the 2019 Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Also in Baku was her coach since childhood Kateryna Logachova, and her father Alexander, who was on assignment taking photos of all the action for Gymnastics Australia.

Although a stiff neck and one small error hampered her on day one, resulting in a hoops score of 15.250 that placed her 73rd out of 112, Kiroi-Bogatyreva improved each day on the world stage.

Despite not reaching the all-around finals, she achieved her highest score for ball at an international tournament this year (17.250) to come 50th overall in a field of 112 gymnasts representing almost 60 nations.

She also scored well in clubs (17.450 to place 64th of 153) and in ribbon (16.050 to come 49th of 152).

Describing the atmosphere in Baku as “amazing”, Kiroi-Bogatyreva thanked her Australian teammates Liidia Lakovleva and Ashari Gill, their coaches, and all those who supported them.

“We’ve done great work moving Australia up the ladder [30th out of 42].

“I’m happy how I went, but I know there is still more room for improvement.”

As a result of her world championship performances, Kiroi-Bogatyreva retained her number one Oceania region ranking.

Israel had a brilliant world championships, coming third on the medal tally.

Linoy Ashram won three individual silver medals (for hoops, clubs and ribbon), two individual bronze medals (for ball and all-around), and one team bronze medal with Nicol Zelikman, who came 11th.

Meanwhile in the Gold Coast, four young Jewish gymnasts shone at Gymnastics Australia’s 2019 National Clubs tournament.

Cheltenham Youth Club rep Joseph Zadirevich won gold in the U17 boys’ individual trampoline, improving from fifth place in the heats to come first in the final with a score of 48.540. That feat was even more impressive, given he chose to do the second-most difficult routine among the 15 entrants. He also won silver in the U17 boys’ double mini trampoline.

Zadirevich’s younger club teammate James Mann-Segal, 11, won bronze in the U13 boys’ individual trampoline with a score in the final of 46.295, and came fifth in the U13 boys’ double mini trampoline.

In acrobatic gymnastics, Skylark club representatives Mia Reitberger and Chloe Auslender joined non-Jewish teammate India Kennedy in the women’s level 6 trio final. They came fourth overall on 47.010 – just 0.220 of a point short of a bronze medal – but scored highly enough to earn second place in ‘dynamic’ – one of two core acrobatic gymnastics disciplines.

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