Rio 2016: Bulgaria’s Olympic hopefuls

Photo: EPA/BGNES

The Olympic Games opened in Rio de Janeiro with a dazzling ceremony and will be riveting the attention of the world until August 21. What are Bulgaria’s chances of success and in which sports?

Rhythmic gymnastics: The Bulgarian gymnasts have been world champions and have several gold medals to their names, reaching the top three in practically all competitions they have taken part in. The hopes here are for an Olympic title.

Shooting sports: 30-year old Antoaneta Boneva will be competing in the 25-meter pistol and the 10-meter air pistol. Boneva had a successful Olympic cycle and the hopes are she will win a medal.  

Boxing: Stanimira Petrova is the current world champion in the 54 kg. weight class; at the Olympics in Rio she will be competing in the 51 kg. weight class.

Judo: Ivaylo Ivanov is one of two Bulgarian contestants in Rio. This year he won the European bronze and has been in the top three at different championships, including first place in Turkey.

Wrestling: In this sport Bulgaria’s hopes of winning medals are, by a tradition, highest. Eleven Bulgarian wrestlers are taking part, most of them with the ambition to win, with Daniel Alexandrov and Borislav Novachkov standing the best chance of victory.

High jump: Mirela Demireva won the silver in the Diamond League on the eve of the Rio Olympics and has a string of good results throughout the year.

Tennis: Grigor Dimitrov and Tsvetana Pironkova are Bulgaria’s tennis contestants. Dimitrov’s first match is today, versus Marin Cilic, Croatia.

Badminton: Linda Zechiri and the Stoevi sisters are formidable badminton players in Europe but their chances of winning medals are minimal, as the contestants from Asia will be a serious challenge to them. 


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