Israel's Olympic medal hope gone with the wind

Windsurfer Korzits finishes final round of competition in 9th, places 6th overall; Kadima attacks gov't for Israel's Olympics failure.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
August 7, 2012 16:44
2 minute read.
Lee Korzits at London Games

Lee Korzits 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

A poor showing by windsurfer Lee Korzits at the final round of the Olympic event on Tuesday effectively spelled the end of any realistic hope Israel had of winning a medal. The event could mark the first time Israel has failed to reach the podium at a Summer Olympics since the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Korzits finished the race in ninth, dropping from the silver medal position to sixth overall.

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In an interview with Israel Radio, Korzits said: "It was a very hard race. It's a big disappointment to fail, but it felt amazing to represent my country." She went on to thank everyone for their support.

"I love the sea, I love to surf, and the water is my home. I will not stop here. It's impossible to know what will happen in the future," Korzits commented.

Spain's Marina Alabau took the gold.

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Following the race, Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh blamed the government for Israel's failure to win an Olympic medal. Tirosh, who chairs the Knesset's Lobby for the Promotion of Sports in Israel, is a former director-general of the Education, Culture, and Sports Ministry. She said Israel needed to be investing in athletes from a young age like the Soviet Union did.

"Our current approach doesn't work," Tirosh said. "In Israeli society, we like to take shortcuts, but Olympic success requires a long-term investment The leaders of our country have not realized the importance of building up our future Olympic winners from the bottom up. Bibi started investing but too little too late. The work is Sisyphean but in the end it leads to a medal."

Tirosh said it was unacceptable that Israel's athletes and trainers need to get day jobs in teaching and other professions order to get by. She said they should be able to work full-time on sports.

"Unfortunately such long-term investments are not in the DNA of the Finance Ministry," Tirosh said. "They need to realize that building Olympic champion is in our national interest. Medal winners are our top ambassadors in the world."

Udi Gal and Gidi Kliger moved up three places to 11th in the men’s 470 Class competition in Weymouth on Monday, ending the day’s races in fifth and 12th.

The Israeli duo will be looking to climb at least one more place on Tuesday to advance to Thursday’s medal race.

In other blue-and-white action, Anastasia Gloushkov and Inna Yoffe ended the synchronized swimming duets qualification in 17th place on Monday, recording a score of 166.920.

Allon Sinai contributed to this report


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