Linoy Ashram breaks up Russia's gold dominance at European Championships

The Israeli's clubs gold medal was the first individual apparatus title for a non-Russian gymnast since 2011, with Russia's Dina Averina sweeping the other three golds in Varna.

By ZK Goh
Picture by 2019 Getty Images

Russia's 10-year stranglehold on individual apparatus medals at the UEG Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships has been broken.

Linoy Ashram, the 2020 all-around European champion from Israel, pulled off the feat by clinching the clubs final in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday (13 June) with a score of 28.500, some three-tenths ahead of Russia's Dina Averina. Anastasiia Salos (27.800) of Belarus won bronze.

It the first individual apparatus gold medal for a non-Russian since Belarus' Liubov Charkashnya won ball and clubs gold in 2011.

Excluding last year's Championships, which Russia missed due to the pandemic, it is also the first individual gold medal (apparatus or all-around) since 2011 for a non-Russian.

Dina Averina on top

It was the only blemish on Dina Averina's day, as she took gold in the hoop (28.350), ball (28.850), and ribbon (24.700) finals.

However, for twin sister Arina, the two-time defending champion in both ball and clubs, there was disappointment as she missed out on the medals in both those apparatus, with her best result a bronze in ribbon (22.600).

Ashram added to her clubs gold with silvers in hoop (27.850) and ball (28.600), while Belarus' Salos and Alina Harnasko were the other medal winners.