Shahar Zubari secured his place at the Rio Olympics on Friday, beating out rival Nimrod Mashiah for Israel’s one and only berth in the men’s competition at this summer’s Games..
(photo credit: AMIT SHISEL / EILAT MUNICIPALITY)
Shahar Zubari will participate in his third straight Olympic Games in Rio this summer after overcoming rival Nimrod Mashiah in the battle for Israel’s one and only berth in the men’s windsurfing competition.
Zubari finished the prestigious Trofeo Princesa Sofia sailing event in Palma de Mallorca in eighth place on Saturday to increase his lead over Mashiah in the internal battle between the two.
Zubari, who won a bronze medal at Beijing 2008 and also represented Israel at London 2012, brought a 22-11.25 lead over Mashiah to the fifth and final test event in Mallorca.
With 25 points on offer for a gold medal in Mallorca, Mashiah was optimistic he would be able to overhaul Zubari. However, he already lost all hope on Friday after failing to qualify for the top- 10 medal race, finishing in 11th place overall. After winning the first two races in the opening day in Palma, it all went downhill for Mashiah, who lost his cool following the second day of competition when he accused Zubari of intentionally trying to slow him down contrary to a gentleman’s agreement between the two.
“Shahar proved today that his word is worthless and spat in the face of the sailing establishment, sport and the State of Israel,” wrote an infuriated Mashiah on Facebook.
Zubari waited until Saturday to respond. “I remained focused on my target,” he said after finishing the medal race in sixth. “If no else thinks I did something wrong then I don’t feel there is any problem. I didn’t make any agreement. My tactics in this event were clear. I needed to make sure I finish ahead of Nimrod.”
Ma’ayan Davidovich also secured her qualification for the women’s windsurfing event in Rio on Friday after advancing to the medal race in Palma while the rest of her countrywomen failed to finish among the top 10.
Davidovich, who ended the competition in sixth place overall after finishing the medal race in fourth, will be competing in her second Olympics, coming 10th in Beijing 2008. She was beaten by Lee Korzits for Israel’s berth at London 2012.
Israel’s representatives in the 470 Class events in Rio were also settled in Mallorca, with Gil Cohen and Nina Amir to participate in the women’s competition, while Eyal Levin and Dan Froyliche will take part in the men’s.