It was an up-and-down weekend for Israel at the London Olympics, with Lee Korzits solidifying her windsurfing medal chances with a pair of strong showings, but her free-water teammates Gidi Kliger and Eran Sela and Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila struggling to stay with the top groups in 470 Class Sailing.
Shahar Zubari continued to struggle on the water and Sergey Richter bowed out of the shooting competition without much fanfare, while the Israeli participants in Athletics, Donald Sanford and Jillian Schwartz, were disappointed as well.
In Weymouth, Lee Korzits regained second place overall in the Women’s Olympic Windsurfing competition as she finished in 2nd place in Race 7 and 1st place in Race 8, both of which took place on Saturday.
This was a much better result for Korzits compared to her last outing on Thursday where she had dropped to third overall by finishing in second place and 11th place in the two races that day.
Korzits trails only Spain’s Marina Alabau as the competition heads into its last day of races before the medal race on Tuesday. The top ten qualifiers from the first 10 races, with the worst score being dropped from the overall standings will go for the gold medal that Korzits so dearly wants.
Never before has an Israeli athlete entered the Olympics as a two-time defending world champion. Korzits, who became the youngest windsurfing world champion in 2003 and won her second gold at the event last December before defending her title in March, is taking part in her second Olympics, desperate to erase the memories from eight years ago.
She ended the 2004 Athens Games in a relatively disappointing 13th position, but after taking a break from her sport and overcoming two near-death experiences, she is back better than ever.
It was 20 years ago that Yael Arad became Israel’s first and only female Olympic medalist, but if Korzits can keep up with the rate she has been going during the first eight races, a medal may be in the offing.
After Saturday’s races Korzits said, “It was a lot of fun, and I am very happy with the result as there was a lot of pressure on me before getting into the water. I have two very important days ahead of me and I am not in the state of euphoria. I hope that in three days I will be in euphoria, but not just yet.”
Also in the water on Saturday, windsurfer Zubari, Nufar Edelman in the Laser Radial and the Israeli Men’s and Women’s 470 Class Sailing teams were in action.
Zubari continued his disappointing Olympic performance as he now sits in 20th place overall as even a chance to compete in the Finals is looking extremely bleak.
Finishing Races 7 and 8 in 35th and 34th places respectively have pushed the 2008 Beijing Bronze medalist to the brink and only a miraculous performance on Sunday during the final two races will hope to send Zubari through to Tuesday’s medal race.
Nufar Edelman the two-time Olympian in Laser Radial finished Races 7 and 8 on Friday in 34th and 28th places fared slightly better on Saturday finishing in 18th and 26th place in the final two races to finish 30th overall.
In the Men’s 470 Class Sailing Kliger and Sela are in 11th place overall after beginning Saturday’s Race 5 with a second- place finish but finished the day’s second Race 6 in 15th position.
Friday saw the duo end Races 3 and 4 in 17th and 11th places as they have four more races to try and secure a place in the medal race on Thursday.
Over on the women’s side of the 470 Class Sailing, Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila ended Saturday’s Races in 15th place overall with a 10th and 19th place finishes in Races 3 and 4.
Friday had began very promising for the new team with a 3rd place finish in Race 1, however, a disqualification in Race 2 gave them much to think about going into the second day of their competition.
With six more races to go before the final, the pair can hope to make up ground this coming week.
In athletics, Sanford competing in the 400 meter race finished fifth in his heat with a time of 45.71 seconds, but failed to make the semifinals. It was reported that his shoes were stolen before the race and that negatively effected his time. Sanford’s time was his season’s best as the first time Olympian placed 26th overall out of 51 runners.
Jillian Schwartz, participating in the pole vault competition, failed to make the finals after failing to pass the 4.5 meter bar after three attempts.
Schwartz had cleared 4.1 meters on her first attempt, 4.25 meters on her third attempt and 4.4 meters on her first attempt, as the Illinois native ended the day in 18th place overall.
In other action on Friday, Sergey Richter ended his Olympics finishing 44th overall in the Men’s 50 meter Rifle Prone and did not qualify for finals.
Korzits and Zubari contest their ninth and 10th races on Sunday, with the medal races comprising of the top-10 in the overall rankings to take place on Tuesday.
Cohen and Bouskila continue the women’s 470 Class event on Sunday, with the men’ team of Kliger and Sela to enjoy a day off.
Also Sunday, Alex Shatilov takes part in the floor final with a real hope of claiming a medal (see diary), while Anastasia Gloushkov and Inna Yoffe compete in the synchronized swimming duets qualification.