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Introducing Israel’s Olympians: Jonatan Kopolev
By ALLON SINAI
07/01/2012
Swimming the 100m backstroke, the 20-year-old Kopelev booked his place in London at the very last moment.
 
Another of the promising new generation of Israeli swimmers, the 20-year-old Kopelev, booked his place in London at the very last moment.

Nine days after becoming the first Israeli swimmer to claim a gold medal at the European Championships, Kopelev clocked a time of 54.38 seconds in the 100-meter backstroke in Slovenia, a mere two hundredths of a second faster than the Olympic Qualifying Time.

Despite making history by scaling the top of the podium in Debrecen, Hungary, Kopelev seemed set to miss out on representing Israel at the London Games as his gold medal came in the 50m backstroke which is not an Olympic event.

However, he proved his mettle by making the most of his final opportunity to reach London and will now have his sights set on making an Olympic semifinal.

“I just needed this to complete the crazy year I had and this is a realization of a dream,” Kopelev said after qualifying for London.

“In one week I won an historic gold medal at the European Championships and qualified for the Olympics. I’m certain I’ll do well there as well.”

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