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Judoka Arik Ze'evi said on Sunday that he's determined to win his second Olympic medal at Beijing next year and join Gal Fridman as the only Israeli to claim two Olympic medals.
"They'll be no excuse for a failure in the Olympics," Ze'evi said at a press conference, which was organized by the Olympic Committee of Israel to mark the start of the Olympic year.
Ze'evi won the bronze medal at Athens in 2004 and is aiming to emulate Fridman, who took a bronze medal in 1996 and a gold eight years later.
"I've been given good training partners and my monthly salary has tripled. Yael Arad and Oren Smadja could have only dreamt of the money I receive. I intend to win another medal in Beijing. The preparations have been optimal and if I don't claim a medal I will be the only one to blame."
OCI CEO Efraim Zinger said that he believes Israel will claim a medal for a fifth consecutive Olympics next year.
"In the last two years we've given our athletes all the financial backing they needed," Zinger said. "We expect the delegation to win one or two medals. We are also hoping for a female medalist for the first time since Yael Arad won the silver in 1992. We expect our athletes to reach between six and eight finals."
OCI chairman Tzvi Varshaviak spoke of the financial incentives the athletes will receive in the coming year.
"The resources and conditions given to the athletes and coaches are the best ever and everyone got exactly what they asked for," he said. "In the Olympic year the incentives and scholarships will be upgraded.
The OCI will distribute NIS 10 million, with the state giving out another NIS six million.We want to give the athletes peace of mind ahead of the Olympics."
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