Toumarkin redeems disappointing Olympics day

20-year-old records best ever result for an Israeli swimmer; judoka Ze'evi, tennis stars Ram/Erlich bow out of competition.

Yakov Toumarkin after swimming final 370 (photo credit: Allon Sinai)
Yakov Toumarkin after swimming final 370
(photo credit: Allon Sinai)
Swimmer Yakov Toumarkin provided Israeli sports with a moment of history in an otherwise disappointing day of setbacks at the London Olympics on Thursday.
The 20-year-old recorded the best ever result for an Israeli swimmer at the Olympics by ending the 200- meter backstroke final in seventh place in a time of 1:57.62 minutes.
The previous best belonged to Eitan Urbach, who ended the 100m back at the 2000 Sydney Games in eighth position.
“I’m really happy with my final position, but I’m slightly disappointed that I didn’t manage to break my Israeli record,” said the ambitious Toumarkin, who became just the second Israeli to progress to an Olympic final in an individual swimming event on Wednesday.
“I had nothing to lose and I managed to improve my position after qualifying as the eighth fastest swimmer.
This is just the beginning and I want to continue to improve.”
However, while Toumarkin registered the highlight of his fledgling career on Thursday, the Olympic careers of veterans Arik Ze’evi and Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich came to a disappointing end.
Ze’evi was knocked out of the under-100kg competition after just 43 seconds of his first round fight against Dimitri Peters (see side box), while Ram and Erlich put on an admirable performance, only to fall 7-6 (4), 7-6 (10) to No. 1 seeds, Bob and Mike Bryan in the doubles quarterfinals.
Ram and Erlich squandered three set points in the 11th game of the first set before being edged in the breaker.
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The Israelis saved four break points in the sixth game of the second set to keep their hopes alive, but failed to convert any of their two set points in the breaker and Erlich gifted the Americans the victory with a double fault on their third match point.
“This is one of the most disappointing and painful defeats of our career,” Ram said. “We played well, had our chances, but failed to make the most of them. I usually recover well from defeats, but this one will be tough to overcome.”
Despite being in the twilight of their careers, Ram wouldn’t rule out taking part in the 2016 Rio Games in what would be his and Erlich’s fourth Olympics.
“There is definitely a chance we will be in Rio,” he said. “We need to maintain a high ranking and I believe that is possible. However, we are taking it one year at a time.”
In Weymouth, Lee Korzits dropped one place to third overall in the women’s windsurfing competition.
Korzits, the reigning world champion, ended the first race of the day, and fifth of the competition, in second place, but could only manage 11th position in the subsequent outing.
Korzits has a total of four more races to come on Saturday and Sunday before Tuesday’s medal race, with the worst score from the first 10 races not to be included in the overall standings.
Shahar Zubari remained in 10th place overall in the men’s windsurfing, but he effectively lost any hope of winning a medal after being disqualified in the first race and ending the second in 12th position.
Korzits and Zubari will enjoy a rest day on Friday before taking part in their respected Races 7 and 8 on Saturday.
Kliger and Sela began the men’s 470 Class sailing competition in a frustrating manner on Thursday, finishing the day’s two races in 19th and 11th, respectively, to end the opening day in 14th place overall.
Kliger and Sela will be looking to get back on track over the next couple of days, with four more races set to take place.
Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila begin their participation in the 2012 Games on Friday when the women’s 470 Class competition gets underway.
Nufer Edelman will contest four more races in the women’s Laser Radial over the next couple of days to complete her competition.
Also Friday, shooter Sergey Richter takes part in the 50m rifle prone, while Israel’s two representatives in the track and field events compete on Saturday.
Donald Sanford will run in the first round of the 400m, aiming to progress to the semis, with Jillian Schwartz to jump in the pole vault qualification.