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Israel's small Winter Olympic team aims for strong showings
By ALLON SINAI
26/01/2010
Skier Mikail Renzhin and Zaretsky ice dance duo to represent the blue and white.
 

Israel's ice dancers Roman and Alexandra Zaretsky only guaranteed their place at the Vancouver Winter Olympics on Friday, but they are already setting their sights on a top 10 finish in the Games next month.

The brother and sister duo finished seventh in the European Championship last week and were in a confident mood at a press conference held at the Olympic Committee of Israel headquarters in Ramat Gan on Monday.

"Of course we would like to win a medal, but being realistic we feel that a top 10 finish will be a great success," Roman said.

"Israel is sending a small team to Vancouver, but we will proudly wave the flag and do all we can to represent the country with honor."

Besides the Zaretskys, Israel's only other representative in Canada will be skier Mikail Renzhin.

Like the ice dancers, the 32-year-old will be competing in his second straight Olympics where he will be taking part in the slalom and giant slalom competitions.

"It is difficult to say what my expectations are from the Olympics because it very much depends on your form on the day of the competition," said Renzhin, who finished the giant slalom in 32nd position in the Turin Games four years ago.

The Israel team left for North America on Tuesday morning and will have more than three weeks to prepare for competition. The Zaretskys don't skate for the first time until February 19, with Renzhin skiing two days later.

"We may train in the US most of the time, but we grew up in Metula and we are proud to be Israeli," said Roman Zaretsky, answering criticism directed at him and his sister for living abroad most of the year.

"We chose to skate with the music of Hava Nagila and Schindler's List for a reason. We want to make Israel proud and show the world that we are here."

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