Eleven years ago, at her first junior World Cup event in Romania, Bulgarian rhythmic gymnast Boryana Kaleyn broke her left leg while performing her ball routine to the tune of 'Memory' from the musical 'Cats.'

Rhythmic gymnasts may look delicate as they slip gracefully through hoops and catch clubs while doing the splits in the air but under the glittery leotards often lie the scars of serious injuries.

In Kaleyn's case, the 2013 setback was not to be her last leg break but she is nothing short of determined and will travel to Paris for her second Olympics with a genuine chance at a medal.

"I stepped abnormally from a jump and started to feel the pain," the 23-year-old said, recalling the incident. "I told my coach it wasn't too painful and I felt well enough to compete but afterwards it got worse."

An X-Ray soon confirmed that Kaleyn had suffered a bad break and had to be rushed to hospital for surgery.

"It was a very hard moment," she told Reuters. "When my mother told me to stop, that I had to be healthy, I said 'No, I
will be the best gymnast; you'll see.'"

She would go on to break her right leg in 2014 and her left leg again in 2016.

"It was easier for me the second and third times because I knew I could go through it," said Kaleyn.

"I just love this sport. It's my life, really. I had three surgeries but I never stopped loving rhythmic gymnastics. I
really hope at the Olympics in Paris I'm as successful as the (Bulgarian) team in Tokyo."

Bulgaria, which has won a medal five times at the Olympics, won gold in the group all-around event at the Tokyo Games three years ago.

Kaleyn started training when she was about six with Mariana Pamukova at the Levski-Triaditza club in Sofia and they have worked together for nearly 18 years.

Her all-time favorite gymnast is triple world all-around champion Maria Petrova, who Kaleyn met while competing as an eight-year-old.

"She told me that I had a big talent and one day I could be one of the best gymnasts in the world," she recalled.

Kaleyn is currently ranked No. 5 in the individual all-around world rankings, seven points out of a top three led by German world champion Darja Varfolomeev.

She will perform her Olympic hoop routine to 'S-Class' by K-Pop band Stray Kids and has planned her ball routine around 'Never Enough' from the musical "The Greatest Showman."

"I'm really hoping for a medal," said Kaleyn. "My routines will be my life in gymnastics. The hoop is the beginning - my childhood. Ball is the moment when I started to win medals. Clubs will be the hard moments; when you don't know if there's a reason to do what you're doing, when you're tired. And ribbon will be the final, for when I found the power inside me and I believed I could do anything."