Casspi leads Benayoun for 'Post' Israeli Sports Personality of the Year

Casspi leads Benayoun fo

Sacramento Kings sensation Omri Casspi has taken the lead in the race for the annual Jerusalem Post Israeli Sports Personality of the Year award, as chosen by you, the readers. After a week of voting in which over 700 people have made their opinion count, Casspi has garnered just under 40 percent of the vote, 10% ahead of his nearest rival, Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun. The 22-year-old small forward, who became the first Israeli to play in the NBA when he made his Kings debut in October, continued his scintillating form this week with 18 points and six rebounds in Wednesday's defeat to LeBron James's Cleveland Cavaliers. In only two months as an NBA player, Casspi has already found his way into coach Paul Westphal's starting lineup, proving his credentials as one of the most promising rookies in the league. But don't count Benayoun out quite yet. Despite Liverpool's loss of form in recent weeks which has seen it tumble down the English Premier League table, the experienced Israel national team captain has maintained his form, becoming one of manager Rafa Benitez's most reliable performers. So far, the sports personality award has been a clear twohorse race. The closest challenger to Benayoun and Casspi has been tennis star Andy Ram, who is the only athlete to have featured in all three shortlists since the award was launched in 2007. At press time Ram was languishing behind on 12.6%, although an army of tennis fans may make their views known in the days before the poll closes on Wednesday. The other nominees in the running are gymnast Alex Shatilov, judoka Alice Shlesinger, swimmer Gal Nevo and Maccabi Haifa soccer captain Yaniv Katan. The results will be announced in the December 31 issue of The Jerusalem Post, where we will also reveal our Team of the Year, Young Israeli Sports Personality of the Year and Foreign Sports Personality of the Year.