Amit Ivri (left) and Yakov Toumarkin 370.
(photo credit: OCI/Courtesy)
After claiming five medals and reaching 11 finals at the European Championships
in Debrecen, Hungary, Israel’s top swimmers returned home on Monday to reap the
financial rewards from their remarkable success.
The 19-year-old Yakov
Toumarkin, who won bronze medals at the 100-meter and 200m backstroke finals,
setting Israeli records in both, was the biggest beneficiary, receiving a NIS
50,000 bonus from the Olympic Committee of Israel.
Amit Ivri, who became
the first Israeli woman to win a medal at the long-course Europeans when she
finished third in the 100m butterfly final, went home with a check for NIS
Jonatan Kopelev and Guy Barnea, who made history by taking a gold
and a bronze, respectively, in the 50m back final, did not receive a bonus from
the OCI as the 50m back is not an Olympic event, but they were given NIS 25,000
and 12,500 from a grateful Israeli Swimming Association.
Israel went 10
years without a medal at the longcourse Europeans until Barnea finished third in
the 50m back final two years ago, but a new standard was set in Debrecen and
national team coach Leonid Kaufman is hoping his swimmers can carry the momentum
into the London Olympics.
“Our swimmers did extremely well. Besides the
medalists, Gal Nevo finished fourth twice and Imri Ganial smashed the Israeli
100m breaststroke record,” Kaufman said.
“I expect every one of our
swimmers to set personal bests in London and if they do that they should reach
the semis. I can’t say anything beyond that because the rest is out of our