Judo champ Yarden Gerbi (Photo: Oren Aharoni )
One year to Rio: Does Israel stand a chance?
The sports for which hopes for winning medals are highest are judo, wrestling and athletics, but we can also expect surprises from surfing, shooting, or women's wrestling.
The Israeli delegation that will march in the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in exactly one year will be characterized by a new generation of faces and will comprise about 40 athletes.



Currently, 10 athletes have their places guaranteed on the flight to Rio: five swimmers, four athletes, and sharpshooter Sergey Richter.


The Israeli Olympic Committee has made sure to lower expectations this time around, and is mainly talking about returning to the podium. The sports for which hopes for winning medals are highest are judo, wrestling and athletics, but we can also fantasize about surprises from surfing, shooting, or women's wrestling.


Judo: Women power

Israeli potential in Rio: six to nine athletes.


The veteran branch of the Israeli delegation. The sport is currently undergoing a generational change: the best athletes in the branch today have never participated in the Olympic Games, which is very critical when it comes to experience.


If until now only one woman has competed in this branch during the Olympics, this year there is a potential for five women: 2nd place world title holder Yarden Gerbi (63 kg), Linda Bolder (70), Gili Cohen or Roni Schwartz (52), Shira Rishoni (48) and possibly Camila Minakawa (57).


Between the men there is potentional for four more athletes: European champ Sagi Muki (73) 2nd place holder in the European Championship Uri Sasson (100 plus kg), Either Golan Pollack or Baruch Shamailov (66) and Tommy Arshanski (60).


Judo champ Sagi Muki (Photo: EPA)
Judo champ Sagi Muki (Photo: EPA)


Assured spots: The chance to land a slot in the games by meeting the criteria will close in May. The goal for the women is to be ranked in the top 14 in their respective Olympic weight class. The men have to be ranked in the top 22.


Chances for medals: Gerbi, who has proven herself in the world championships, is a realistic candidate, as is Bolder if she lands the right matchups. Among the men, Moki has already proven that he is in the top 8 in the world, but he still runs the chance of being knocked out of the ranking early on. Uri Sasson is the real wild card.


Sailing: On the decline

Israeli potential in Rio: three to six


Sailing has for many years been considered Israel's most accomplished Olympic sport, earning three Olympic medals, but a year before the competition the situation is not very uplifting. Israel currently holds only 2 assured spots in Rio.


The spot typically held by Lee Korzits, who is not competing due to her health issues, will be filled by Maayan Davidovich, who finished third two times in a row in the world championships (2013,2014), but is not as dominant as Korzits. Nimrod Mashiah and Shahar Tzuberi are currently fighting each other for a place in Rio (Mashiah is leading), but neither one of them is approaching the level needed to bring home a medal.


The situation in 470 sailing is much more dire, with Israel not sure to have a representative in Rio. In women's 470, Gili Cohen and Danielle Maman will try to grab one of the last four slots available, and luckily for them, the world championships will be held this October in Haifa. In men's 470, there are seven slots left and the chances that Eyal Levin and Dan Froyliche will manage to get to Rio are not great.


Assured spots: Israel already has two assured slots for a male and female surfer.


Chances for medals: Only with a surprise from one of the surfers.


Swimming: Toumarkin and friends

Israeli potential in Rio: Five to eight


In one of the central sports in the summer Olympics, Israel has a serious showing with five swimmers having already met the Olympic criteria. There are no expectations for a medal, but finals are definitely within reach, with the main contender being Yakov Toumarkin.


Yakov Toumarkin (Photo: Oren Aharoni)
Yakov Toumarkin (Photo: Oren Aharoni)


Toumarkin guaranteed his spot in the pool in three swimming styles: 100 meter back stroke, 200 meter back stroke, and 200 meter individual medley. Gal Nevo will compete in the 400 meter individual medley, Andi Murez will compete in the 50 meter freestyle, Ziv Klontrov, and Amit Ivri will compete in the 100 meter butterfly. A few more swimmers may make their way to Rio: David Gamburg, Guy Barnea, Yonatan Koplov, Tom Kramer, Mark Hinnawi, and Zohar Shikler.


Assured spots: Amit Ivri, Andi Muraz, Yakov Toumarkin, Gal Nevo, Ziv Klontrov.


Chances for medals: None


Athletics: Dreaming is possible

Potential in Rio: 4 to 6


The prestigious sport of the Olympics has grown steadily in Israel over the years. Israel sent three athletes to London, but we can already count on 4 athletes in Rio.


Triple jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko, is set to reach the finals, and may even surprise us with a medal. Javelin thrower Margarita Dorozhon could also surprise by standing on the podium. In addition to ladies, Donald Sanford has also assured his spot in the 400 meter race, and most recently, high jumper Dima Kroyter has qualified by passing the 2.29 meter mark. The next likely candidiate to qualify is Olga Lansky who has already reached the criterium for the 200 meter run, before it was disqualified because wind conditions where not measured during the race. Israel may even have a marathoner in the running in Rio with Tasama Mogas or Woba Brihon.


Chances for medals: Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko


Gymnastics: Going towards a group game

Israel's situation is not bad in both rhythmic gymnastics and gymnastics. The rhythmic gymnastics team jumped a level when it won a silver medal in the world championships, a bronze medal in the European championships in multisport racing, and three medals in the European Games. In order to meet the criteria, they will have to finish in the top eight in the world championships in Stuttgart. Neta Rivkin and possibly Victoria Filanovsky are set to represent Israel.


Alex Shatilov was supposed to be a sure-shot in artistic gymnastics, but when he arrived at the finals in the London Olympics he had minimized capability. The young gymnast Tsuf Feldon is supposed to join him.


Assured spots: Not yet


Chances for medals: On a day without political intrigue, the team should celebrate on the podium.


The rest: from Richter to Kartish

The shooter Sergey Richter met the criteria with a bronze in the European Games and will try to get to the final, and even win a medal there. The wrestler Ilana Kratysh, who won the silver medal three times in a row, has a good chance.


In badminton, Misha Zilberman has a good chance to to another Olympics. In fencing it is estimated that at most one or two fencers will reach them.


In golf, which is returning to the Olympics after 112 years, Laetetia Beck is in the criterium range, being in the world's top 60. Other sports in which there is a chance to get to Rio are the triathlon, mountain biking and rowing.


פרסום ראשון: 08.05.15, 23:17
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