Tennis stars Lina Glushko and Ben Patael.
(photo credit: ALEX GOLDENSTEIN/ISRAEL TENNIS ASSOCIATION)
Lina Glushko and Ben Patael won the inaugural Anna and Michael Kahan Family Prize in Ramat Hasharon on Wednesday, each claiming an unprecedented NIS 100,000 in support after triumphing in their respective finals following a series of three tournaments.
Only players under the age of 21 were able to take part in the tournaments, organized by the Israel Tennis Centers.
The prize money was donated by Holocaust survivor Michael Kahan and his late wife, Anna.
The players will be able to use the money to purchase equipment and to travel abroad for tournaments and training camps.
Glushko, the 17-year-old sister of Israeli No. 1 Julia Glushko, defeated Maya Tahan 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the girls’ final on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Patael beat Mor Bulis 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the boys’ final after overcoming 17-year-old Yshai Oliel in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Oliel finished in third place thanks to his win over Ran Amar on Wednesday.
After surviving the Holocaust, Anna and Michael settled in Queens, New York, and worked in the garment industry.
They have one son and a granddaughter and grandson, both of whom played college tennis in Division I in the United States.
As ardent Zionists, the Kahans decided to donate their life savings to help Israel by strengthening Israeli tennis and by developing the next generation of champions to compete on the world stage and serve as ambassadors for the country.
“Thanks to his grandchildren and the big part tennis played in their lives, Michael decided to affect the future of Israel through this sport,” said Israel Tennis Centers CEO Ari Strasberg. “The annual competition he is holding at the Israel Tennis Centers will help many youth players that aspire to represent Israel internationally to receive the best possible support in the hope that in a few years from now we will all enjoy the fruits of Michael’s vision.”