Olympics: Zubari returns home to rapturous reception

Dozens of fans cheer and clap as 21-year-old windsurfer arrives at Ben-Gurion airport, proudly wearing his Olympic medal around his neck.

Zubari bronze 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Zubari bronze 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Olympic bronze medal winning windsurfer Shahar Zubari returned to Israel from Beijing on Wednesday and immediately continued his celebrations by popping open a bottle of champagne in the Ben-Gurion airport arrivals hall. Dozens of fans cheered and clapped as the 21-year-old Israeli walked through the sliding doors, proudly wearing his Olympic medal around his neck. Clearly delighted with the reception, Zubari then shook the bottle of bubble, opened it and began drinking straight from the bottle. "I feel great right now," Israel's only medal winner at this summer's Games told reporters. "This is the first time I have experienced a reception like this. It is only now that I am really able to take in what I have achieved." Zubari came back from fourth place in the final medal race last week to take the bronze in the same event that Gal Fridman won Israel's first, and so far only Olympic gold, in Athens four years ago. Looking to the future Zubari added: "I am delighted that I finished in such a great way and now I just wanted to continue striving forward. I want to rest a little and then we will see. At the Olympics I began speaking to people about where and to train. I believe I can carry on like this - everything is possible." Other members of Israel's Olympic team came back to Israel with mixed feelings on Monday. Alex Averbukh had a look of disappointment on his face as he walked past reporters at Ben-Gurion after failing to reach the pole vault final, while kayaker Michael Kolganov appeared satisfied with his performances in Beijing which included reaching the semifinals of the K500 event.