LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Jordan Jovtchev of Bulgaria competes on the rings during the men's gymnastics qualification in the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 28, 2012. REUTERS photo
Bulgarian veteran Jordan Jovtchev has played down his chances of success in the men's gymnastics rings final, after becoming the first male gymnast to appear at six Olympic Games.
The silver-haired 39-year-old squeezed into the rings final in Saturday's qualifying competition, securing the eighth and last berth with a measured routine that earned him a score of 15.308.
However, with reigning world and Olympic rings champion Chen Yibing of China
among the opponents he must overcome in the final on August 6, Jovtvchev does not hold much hope of bowing out with a medal around his neck.
"Barely making the finals doesn't look good for medals," he said when asked about his chances of making the podium.
Jovtchev -- who won won bronze medals in Athens and Sydney -- is Bulgaria's only male gymnast competing in London and, as the president of the Bulgarian gymnastics federation, he is acutely aware of the need to attract more young people to the sport.
"We are getting better," said Jovtchev, who was Bulgaria's flag-bearer during the opening ceremony on Friday.
"The gyms are improving and the government is helping even more now, so there's inspiration for the young guys, but they're too young, only 12 or 13. We don't have anybody else."