Young sports personality of the year: Shatilov - a superb future prospect

Shatilov A superb futur

Alex Shatilov 248.88 (photo credit: )
Alex Shatilov 248.88
(photo credit: )
With all due respect to judo, windsurfing and kayaking, Israel has yet to claim a medal in one of the more significant Olympic events. If everything goes according to plan however, Alex Shatilov could well be the first of his countrymen to do so when he competes at the 2012 London Games. The 22-year-old gymnast has shown steady improvement in recent years and cemented his place as one of the world's best at the floor exercise in 2009. After finishing in seventh and fifth positions at the 2006 and 2007 World Championships, respectively, Shatilov made local history this year, becoming the first Israeli to win a medal at a major gymnastics championship, doing so twice. He claimed the bronze medal at both the World and European Championships, proving he can compete with the world's best and get the better of them. Israel has had little success in artistic gymnastics in the past, but Shatilov, who made aliya from Uzbekistan in 2002, is rewriting the record book all by himself. Even before he scaled the podium at the Worlds and Europeans this year, he became the first Israeli to compete in a gymnastics final at the Olympics last year, finishing eighth in the floor final in Beijing. For all that he has achieved in 2009, Shatilov's future is looking even brighter. He enters every competition expecting to win a medal and that will be no different at the London Olympics. Time will tell if he does indeed manage to do so, but regardless, it should be a treat to follow his quest for an Olympic medal in the next two years.