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Israel Wins First Gold in a Decade

Photograph: Gold medalist Shahar Tibi, left, and silver medalist Katy Spychakov celebrating at the Allianz World Championships in The Netherlands, August 2023.

 

In a defining moment for Israeli sports, the nation’s female windsurfers stole the spotlight at the 2023 Sailing World Championships held in The Hague, Netherlands. Shahar Tibi and Katy Spychakov claimed gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women’s iQFoil category, marking a pivotal moment in the history of Israeli windsurfing.

A Decade in the Making

The 25-year-old Shahar Tibi won the first world title for Israel in a decade, becoming an icon for aspiring young athletes back home. Her remarkable win stands as a testimony to resilience and hard work, inspiring a new generation of athletes in Israel and across the globe.

“I can’t be happier about what we achieved,” Tibi said. She went on to admit, “This was a physically hard day and week. I wasn’t able to get to the podium last year, and this time is my first time [to achieve that], so I’m very excited.”

A Triumph Dedicated to Inspiration

Tibi dedicated her win to the legendary Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits, a four-time world champion who currently battles polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer. “Ten years have passed since she won her fourth, and last, world title and I was there watching her, as a 15-year-old,” Tibi revealed. “Korzits is fighting for her life and inspired me and many others.”

Gratitude and Recognition

Shahar Tibi extended her heartfelt thanks to those who had supported her journey. “Thanks to everyone at home, to the sailing association, to the national team, to my parents and family,” she said.

A Milestone for Israeli Sailing

The chair of the Israel Sailing Association, Shai Buber, emphasised the significance of this achievement. “These are moments of glory for Israeli sailing. Since Lee Korzits, there hasn’t been an Israeli [windsurfing] world champion, and today we have a champion and a runner-up. It is inspiring to see Shahar Tibi reach this status and good on her.”

Previous Achievements and Future Prospects

Tibi represented Israel in the Tokyo Olympics, where she placed eighth overall while Spychakov secured the sixth position. The Israeli team’s successes didn’t stop with the women; Israel’s Yoav Omar also made headlines by earning bronze in the men’s quarter-final at The Hague.

Final Thoughts

As members of the Maccabi Victoria community, we are immensely proud of the Israeli windsurfing team for their remarkable achievements. Their resilience, dedication, and skill serve as an inspiration for all, proving that with commitment and hard work, anything is possible. Here’s to many more years of sporting excellence from the Israeli national team!

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