Israeli sports received some much-needed good news on Saturday evening after the
International Sailing Federation (ISAF) overturned its initial decision and
reinstated windsurfing as an Olympic sport for the Rio 2016 Games.
of Israel’s seven Olympic medals have come courtesy of its windsurfers, who all
breathed a huge sigh of relief on Saturday after months of
In May, the ISAF announced men’s and women’s kite surfing
would replace the RS:X sail board at the 2016 Games.
However, the ISAF
General Assembly overturned that decision in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland on Saturday
by a slim majority of 51.3 percent, meaning Israel’s expertise in the discipline
will not be lost.
Gal Fridman won a bronze medal in the sport in Atlanta
1996 and took Israel’s only Olympic gold medal to date in Athens
Shahar Zubari claimed the country’s sole medal of Beijing 2008 and
Lee Korzits came tantalizingly close to scaling the podium in London 2012,
dropping out of the top three to finish in sixth in the final day of
The likes of world champion Korzits and Zubari, as well as
Nimrod Mashiah and junior world champion Naomi Cohen were facing the difficult
decision of making the switch to kitesurfing, but can now turn their focus to
preparing for Rio 2016 in the sport of their choice.
“This is a great
feeling,” said Israel Yachting Association chairman, Yehuda
“This is very important to Israeli sports and we worked very
hard to get this passed.
We collected so many medals in this sport that
it would have been a real shame had it not been in the Olympics any more.”