(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Israel’s only medalist at the last Olympics, Zubari required a dramatic comeback to book his place at the 2012 Games.
With each country only being allowed to send one windsurfer to the Olympics, Zubari battled local opponent Nimrod Mashiah for almost a year before edging him for the ticket to London at the very last moment.
Mashiah entered the World Cup event in Medemblik, Netherlands in May – the fourth and final competition in the internal battle between the bitter rivals – with a significant lead over Zubari in the Olympic Committee of Israel’s race for the country’s single berth.
However, Zubari won the event with a dominating performance and qualified for the Olympics at the expense of Mashiah after the latter only finished in eighth place.
“For me, reaching the Olympics is only the beginning,” said Zubari, who is hoping to win a second straight medal at the Olympics after taking a bronze in Beijing four years ago.
“I’m aware of the expectations from me and I will do my best.”
Besides his Olympic triumph in Beijing, Zubari is also a two-time European champion and a former medalist at the World Championships.
However, he has not meddled at a major event since the Europeans two years ago, ending March’s Worlds in ninth position.
The strong winds expected at the Olympic course in Weymouth also hurt Zubari’s chances of success.
But as he proved yet again in the scrap with Mashiah, Zubari tends to come up with the goods just when all looks lost, a never-say-die attitude which will be vital to scaling the podium in London.