(photo credit: )
The first annual Israeli Cup in kayaking was a big event for Tel Aviv, according to the managing director of the Daniel Rowing Centre, which hosted Friday's competition.
"It is important for sports and important for the city of Tel Aviv," said Eitan Gluzman.
The event was held at the Daniel Rowing Centre on the Yarkon River, home of the Hapoel Tel Aviv team. The modern facility, which operates a large fleet of rowboats, kayaks and sea kayaks, was built in 2003 and named after Daniel Amichai, a rower who died in a car accident.
The cup set somewhat of a precedent as Israeli kayaking competitions have traditionally been held at Lake Kinneret.
"Israelis don't like to send their kids to participate [on the Yarkon] because there was an accident a few years ago where a bridge fell causing death, but it's good water," said Efrat Mishori, a member of the Emek Hayarden club, last month at the national kayaking championships in Tiberias.
Friday's event itself was quite understated, as some of Israel's best kayakers, such as Michael Kolganov, were not present. A number of the adult heats had only one competitor rowing against the clock.
While the day began with partial cloud cover and light winds, by noon winds were blowing away anything that wasn't held down, including scoresheets at the finish line. Partly due to the poor weather, no records were set at the event.
Hapoel Tel Aviv members won both the men's and women's 1000m singles as Roei Yellin and Marina Levkovic took the golds. In the 500m women's singles, Adi Gafni of Hapoel Tel Aviv returned to the podium with a time of 2:06.43 following the tangle-up near the finish line in last month's national championships. Gafni was followed closely by Larissa Peisakhovitch of Emek Hayarden, with a time of 2:06.61.
Along with the lack of some of Israel's best kayakers, few spectators were on hand, aside from athletes waiting for their heats along with their families.