LONDON – Shahar Pe’er’s second Olympics lasted just 65 minutes after she dropped
to a 6-2, 6-0 defeat to world No. 3 Maria Sharapova in the first round of the
women’s singles at Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old Israeli believed the final
score-line didn’t do her justice, and that may be so, but she never came close
to threatening Sharapova and was at the Russian’s complete mercy throughout the
“Obviously I’m disappointed because I lost, but I think the match
was a little closer than the score-line indicates,” Pe’er said.
“I had my
chances and gave my best, fighting until the last point. I really believed I
“But she is one of the best players ever and you have to give
her the respect she deserves.”
Despite the deflating defeat, Pe’er
cherished every moment of the Olympic experience.
“I’m proud to represent
Israel each and every time I am given the opportunity,” she said. “Four years is
a long time, but I really hope I will be able to take part in another
Pe’er broke Sharapova in the first game of the match, but she
gifted the Russian a break back immediately and lost her serve twice more in the
first set, sending a forehand long to lose 6-2.
A Pe’er double fault in
the second game of the second set handed Sharapova an early break after which
the Russian quickly wrapped up proceedings.
As painful as Pe’er’s loss
may have been, it pales in comparison to the agony felt by gymnast Valeriia
Maksiuta on Sunday.
The 24-year-old, who made aliya from Ukraine five
years ago, fell off the beam twice and lost her balance on the final landing,
She also lost her handling once in the uneven bars and
eventually recorded a poor overall result of 45.699 points.
really hard to get here, but I just couldn’t do it,” a shocked Maksiuta
“I can’t explain what happened here. This is undoubtedly the
biggest disappointment I have experienced in my life.
“I’m in shock and I
don’t even want to go home.”
There was also disappointment for the
Israeli delegation in the pool, with Yakov Toumarkin and Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or
both coming no where near their personal bests and failing to advance to the
Toumarkin, who became the first Israeli to win two medals in
a single European Championship in May, would have advanced to the 100- meter
backstroke semis had he equaled his national record of 54.14 seconds. But he
came up well short, clocking a time of 54.91s to finish in 24th place overall in
his first Olympics.
“I’m disappointed. I don’t know how to explain this,”
the 20-year-old Toumarkin said.
“I didn’t feel good right from the start.
This was my first ever Olympic swim and it lifted a lot of pressure.
hope that this will help me when I compete in the 200m backstroke. My goal
remains to reach an Olympic semi.”
Shapira Bar-Or ended the men’s 200m
freestyle in 21st place in a time of 1:48.60 minutes.
“I’m not that
disappointed,” said Bar-Or, who reached the 200m free semis in Beijing four
“I recorded a season’s best time, but unfortunately it wasn’t
enough because there are many quick youngsters who deserve a lot of
Like Bar-Or, Misha Zilberman’s Olympics also came to an end on
Sunday when he suffered his second straight defeat in the Badminton
Zilberman finished bottom of Group I after suffering a 21-9,
21-15 loss to Derek Wong on Sunday, a day after falling 21-13, 21-12 to
Denmark’s Jan O. Jorgensen.
Zilberman and judoka Golan Pollack will
already be turning their focus to Rio 2016 after Pollack lost to France’s David
Larose in the first round of the under-66kg competition early
After youngsters Pollack and Tommy Arshanski failed to make their
mark in the first two days of the judo competitions, Soso Palelashvili enters
the frame on Monday when he faces Turkey’s Sezar Huysuz in the last 32 of the
The bronze medalist from the recent European
Championships was handed a first round bye and comes up against a beatable
opponent for a place in the last 16.
Matters will be getting far more
complicated after that, but Palelashvili will be focusing on one fight at a
Israel’s only shooter in London, Sergey Richter, opens his account
on Monday in his signature event, the 10m air rifle.
finished sixth in the event at this year’s European Championships and has fond
memories of the Olympic venue after ending the World Cup event at the Royal
Artillery Barracks in second place.
Monday will also see Israel’s first
sailor get in on the action in Weymouth, with Nufar Edelman to compete in the
first two races of the Laser Radial event.