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Israeli gymnasts competing to fly flag in Doha

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JACK MILNER

There were doubts whether Dolgopyat, the winner of two World Cup medals in the past month, would be allowed to attend the competition because he is a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces and would need special permission to attend a sporting event in a country hostile to Israel.

Shatilov, 31, who won bronze on floor at the 2009 and 2011 world championships, views this event as a great opportunity to build bridges through sport. “I think it’s really exciting to come to Qatar,” Shatilov said in an interview with the media after their first day’s training this week. “It’s nice to show friendship with this country, and for us to compete here.

“I think it will be amazing to have the Israeli flag flying during a medal ceremony in Doha. And, we will do all we can for this to happen.”

In training on Monday, Dolgopyat struggled with his signature double front with one-and-a-half twist, but came back with an impressive quadruple twist. Shatilov, now considered a veteran, showed a unique double front pike half-out to open his routine.

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