Bulgaria secured their tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in group rhythmic gymnastics by winning a gold medal at the 2022 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Friday, 16 September. Israel won the Silver medal, and Spain got the Bronze. Despite being the reigning Olympic champions, Bulgaria’s five athletes watched from the stands inside Armeec Arena.
However, their replacement team of Margarita Vasileva, Sofia Ivanova, Kamelia Petrova, Rachel Stoyanov, Radina Tomova, and Zhenina Trashlieva continued where the country left off, winning Bulgaria’s first group world championship in 2014. It is their 11th gold overall in the competition.
Julia Trashlieva, the team’s captain, said, “We’re so happy, and we’re so proud of ourselves. We couldn’t believe we did it. I don’t have the words to describe what I feel”.
Bulgaria scored 66.600 for winning the Gold, ahead of Israel’s 64.650 for silver, and Spain at 63.200 was third, securing the Bronze. Israel won their first medal in the group competition. These three medallists earned qualifying places for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Shaham Ofir, Israel’s gymnast, said, “it’s a fantastic experience to be here and to win this medal. We’re so happy and hope to bring glory to our country”.
In the first half of the Group B competition, Bulgaria was the first medal contender to score 33.850 with a Lady Gaga-inspired five-hoop display. Shortly after, Spain took the stage and achieved a 33.450 for their five-hoop routine.
Italy, the pre-event favourite, competed in the lower scoring three ribbons and two balls category and earned 27.900. The defending European and world silver medalists were in big trouble after the event, which was the fourth-best in the event.
Israel scored remarkably in the mixed apparatus in the second rotation at 30.800. The other competitors need a combined score of 64.650 to surpass them. Bulgaria scored 32.800 in the second rotation and moved to the top of the leaderboard.
The final challenger was Italy; the winner of four world group titles needed an enormous score of 35.300 to land on the podium. They performed a spectacular Michael Jackson-themed five hoops but not enough to reach the required score. With a 34.150, they were fourth overall.