Korzits sparkles, Schlesinger stumbles

Israeli world champion windsurfer sits 2nd overall after two races; Shatilov set for final.

Lee Kurzits at London Olympics 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Lee Kurzits at London Olympics 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Alice Schlesinger’s dreams of Olympic glory in London were shattered on Tuesday, but Lee Korzits lived up to her billing as the Israeli delegation’s best medal hope with an impressive start to the windsurfing competition in Weymouth.
Schlesinger entered the women’s under- 63kg contest brimming with confidence and was exactly where she wanted to be after defeating Austrian nemesis Hilde Drexler to advance to the quarterfinals.
However, the 24-year-old’s campaign began to unravel in the last eight when she fell to eventual gold-medalist Urska Zolnir of Slovenia, falling significantly behind with two minutes remaining before being pinned to the mat to lose the battle.
Despite the defeat, Schlesinger still had a chance to claim a bronze medal via the repechage. But after requiring a painkilling injection to her right elbow which she injured against Zolnir, Alice’s day was brought to an end with a loss in a tight encounter to World and European champion Gevrise Emane of France, with the Israeli being penalized for passiveness in sudden-death extra-time.
“I’m really disappointed. I wanted to win a medal here,” a dejected Schlesinger said after her final defeat. “I did exactly what I needed to in my first fight, but I was too tactical in the quarters instead of being more aggressive and that was a mistake.
“The fight in the repechage could have gone either way and I’m really frustrated. I beat Zolnir in April’s European Championships, but it is not as if I lost to someone I shouldn’t have lost to. Zolnir is the world No. 3 and Emane is the No. 2.”
No one on the Israeli delegation entered the London Games with more pressure than Korzits, but she coped with it superbly on Tuesday, winning the first race of the women’s windsurfing competition before finishing third in the second to place second overall after the opening day.
“This is a pretty good start for me, but there is still a long way to go,” said Korzits, with eight more races still to come over the coming week before next Tuesday’s medal race.
“I didn’t start the races very well, but I picked up some good speed and I can’t wait to get back out there. I felt good physically and the conditions should be in my favor over the coming days.”
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Shahar Zubari, who won Israel’s only medal at the Beijing Games four years ago, did not do as well in the 20-knot winds in Weymouth, finishing Tuesday’s races in 12th and eighth to end the day in 10th place overall.
The windsurfing competitions continue on Wednesday with races 3 and 4.
Nufar Edelman’s poor showing in the women’s Laser Radial in Weymouth continued on Tuesday. She is in 33rd place overall following two days of competition after finishing her third and fourth races, in 33rd and 34th place, respectively.
Races 5 and 6 are on Wednesday.
Alex Shatilov returns to competition on Wednesday when he takes part in the gymnastics individual all-around final.
Shatilov qualified for the final from 12th place overall with a score of 89.032 points and will be hoping to break into the top 10 on Wednesday.
The gymnast will be competing almost pressure free, knowing his big day will arrive on Sunday when he takes part in the floor final, expecting to win a medal.
Gal Nevo and Yakov Toumarkin will be looking to improve on their early showings in the pool on Wednesday.
Nevo finished in a respectable 10th place in the 400-meter individual medley in the first day of the swimming and will be expecting to at least reach the semifinal of the 200m IM on Wednesday, the way he did in Beijing four years ago.
Toumarkin was bitterly disappointed at failing to reach the semis in the 100m back, finishing in 24th place overall, and will know only a semifinal berth in the 200m back will ensure him sweet memories from the London Games.