(photo credit: OLYMPIC COMMITTEE OF ISRAEL)
Alex Shatilov will participate in his third straight Olympics this summer after securing his place in Rio 2016 on Saturday, finishing in 10th place in the All-Around competition in the Olympic Test Event held in the host city.
The 29-year-old found himself under unexpected pressure after failing to qualify for this summer’s Games prior to the decisive Test Event.
However, he completed the job without too much trouble on Saturday, registering an overall result of 86.249. Shatilov received 14.6 points in the floor exercise, 14.1 in the pommel horse, 13.883 in the rings, 14.633 in the vault, 14.433 in the parallel bars and 14.6 in the horizontal bar.
Shatilov has recorded groundbreaking achievements for Israeli gymnastics throughout his career, but has struggled for form over the past couple of years. He finished the floor final in Beijing 2008 in eighth place before going on to claim two bronze medals in the floor at the World Championships (2009, 2011) and five medals in his favorite exercise in the European Championships, including a gold medal in 2013.
However, after arriving at the previous Olympics in London as a medal candidate, Shatilov will enter Rio with far lower expectations, failing to scale the podium in a major competition since winning a bronze medal in the floor final at the Europeans in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014.
“I want to go as far as possible in Rio,” said Shatilov. “I live and work for this. I will try and strengthen my floor exercise until Rio and I hope to do my best.”
Shatilov became the 29th Israeli to book his place in Rio, but wrestler Ilana Kratysh’s hopes of becoming the 30th on Sunday were dashed in Serbia.
The four-time silver medalist in the under-69 kilogram event at the European Championships suffered a surprise defeat in the first round of the European Qualification Tournament, losing 7-4 to Austrian Martina Kuenz.
Kratysh’s next opportunity to qualify for her first Olympics will be at the first World Qualification Tournament in Mongolia next week.
Should she fail to secure her progress in Ulaanbaatar, she will have one final chance at the second World Qualification Tournament in Istanbul at the start of May.
Meanwhile, Israel’s top badminton player Misha Zilberman closed in on his second straight Olympics after rising to No. 30 in the Olympic qualification rankings following his bronze medal triumph at the Peru International over the weekend.
Zilberman, who is ranked No. 65 in the world, will have one final chance to pick up ranking points in Tahiti next weekend.
He needs to remain among the top 34 until the rankings of May 5 to qualify for Rio.