Linoy Ashram won Israel's first gold medal for a women, beating Russia's Dina Averina
Russian Olympic rhythmic dancer Dina Averina on Monday urged people to leave Israel’s gold medalist Linoy Ashram alone after the Israeli’s win on Saturday in the Tokyo Olympics drew controversy on social media.
"I, like Linoy Ashram, am being bullied on social networks," she said in an interview with Championat, a Russian digital sports publisher.
Averina, a popular favorite to win the competition, instead won silver.
"Yes, not all people support me," she said, adding: "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 rhythmic gymnastics after Ashram dropped her apparatus during her routine.
"I can't say that it was very fair," said Averina. "I can't spot any obvious mistake that I did. 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.