Allon sinai 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
No one doubts Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or’s talent.
So why isn’t the
21-year-old swimmer competing at the ongoing European Championships in Budapest?
Well, that would depend on who you ask.
Bar-Or believes the Israel
Swimming Association has a vendetta against him. He is certain the ISA has never
forgiven him for his decision to learn his trade in the US, rather than at the
Wingate Institute, and compete in local competitions for the Jerusalem
Metropolitan team rather than the all-conquering Hapoel Jerusalem, from which
current ISA chairman Noam Zvi arose.
The ISA, on the other hand, claims
the swimmer has behaved inappropriately, and despite all its efforts, he refuses
to meet the basic requirements demanded from national team members and is
attacking the association despite never really intending on representing Israel
at the Europeans.
All of this makes for a very messy and embarrassing
exchange of insults, which shows no signs of slowing down and from which
It should have been so different.
specialist burst onto the scene three years ago when he claimed silver and
bronze medals at the European Youth Swimming Championships in Antwerp.
soon broke the Israeli records in the 50-meter, 100m and 200m free and was a
last minute addition to Israel’s delegation to the Beijing
Bar-Or, who currently trains at the University of Arizona,
finished in an impressive 15th place in the 200m in China, but while everything
was going according to plan in the pool, outside of the water matters continued
The volatile relationship between Bar-Or and the ISA hit
boiling point at last summer’s World Championships. Bar-Or claimed that he
suffered minor facial injuries after the national team’s assistant coach Dima
Ravinski struck him with a towel, allegations that were denied by the
Both the swimmer and the coach eventually faced disciplinary action,
but while Ravinski was acquitted, Bar-Or was suspended for three months for his
part in the fracas.
“We found ourselves in an impossible situation,”
Nimrod’s father Michael told me on Monday.
“Nimrod is paying the price
for doing things the unorthodox way. He wouldn’t make concessions others would.
He wouldn’t join Hapoel Jerusalem and he wouldn’t accept national coach Leonid
Kaufman as his coach.”
The ISA, for its part, says Bar- Or rebuffed all
of its approaches in recent months, turning down all its peace
There seems to be no resolution to the dispute between Bar-Or
and the ISA. Both sides claim the other is lying and the fact that the
communicate via lawyers these days pretty much says it all.
can argue as much as they want regarding the blame for the current sad
However, if Bar-Or never represents his country again, neither
will be able to hide from their responsibility in the wasting of a
likes of which Israeli sports is rarely firstname.lastname@example.org