Russian Olympic rhythmic gymnast Dina Averina on Monday urged people to leave Israel’s gold medalist Linoy Ashram alone after the Israeli’s win on Saturday in Tokyo drew controversy on social media in Russia.
The 22-year-old stunned the world and won a gold medal on Saturday after topping a stiff competition in the individual all-around final. Ashram's win caused an uproar in Russia, which counted on Averina to take home the gold medal instead of silver. Since her win, the public, Russian sports officials and even some politicians in Moscow have claimed the results were rigged.
"I, like Linoy Ashram, am being bullied on social networks," she said in an interview with Championat, a Russian digital sports publisher.
"Yes, not all people support me," she said. "We are not guilty of anything — this is a matter of the judges. I feel sorry for Linoy — she did nothing wrong. Don't harass her."
Averina earlier stated she did not feel it was fair that she got a lower score in the final after Ashram dropped her apparatus during her ribbon routine.
"I can't say that it was very fair," said Averina. "I can't spot any obvious mistake that I made. I was pretty consistent and clean compared to Linoy who lost the apparatus."
Ashram's victory on Saturday is the first time since the 1996 Atlanta games that a non-Russian gymnast won a medal in the all-around event.
In addition, it is the first gold medal won by an Israeli woman and marks the first time Israel won more than one gold medal in a single Olympics.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.