After boos in Qatar, Palestinian swimmer defends silver medalist Anastasia Gorbenko

Yazan Al Bawwab, who also competed in Qatar, surprisingly supports the Israeli swimmer, who received contemptuous treatment from the local crowd: "I have no problem with the presence of swimmers from Israel in the competition." The bronze medalist from Gorbenko's heat also supports her: "It's not fair that an athlete has to deal with something like this"

Ynet Sports |
Following the scandal of boos directed at Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko after winning the historic silver medal at the World Swimming Championships held in Qatar, the Israeli swimmer received support from an unexpected direction. Yazen Al Bawwab, who also participated in the championship and represented the Palestinian national team, was asked about the contempt for Gorbenko and claimed that "he has no problem with the presence of swimmers from Israel in the competition. When we compete, we are all the same."
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Gorbenko's story and the humiliating treatment she received from the Qatari audience were extensively covered in the Italian newspaper, Corriere Della Sera. In addition to Al Bawwab, Italian swimmer Sara Franceschi, who finished in third place in same race, was also interviewed.
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אנסטסיה גורבנקו ומדליית הכסף
אנסטסיה גורבנקו ומדליית הכסף
Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko won the silver medal at the World Swimming Championships held in Qatar
(Photo: Simona Castervillari, Swimming Association)
According to the report, the two swimmers know each other well and have a good friendship. After the contempt Gorbenko received from the Qatari audience, Franceschi immediately supported her colleague from Israel. "It was a difficult moment," Franceschi said. "It's not fair for an athlete to have to deal with something like this. She just wanted to celebrate after the good result she achieved."
Gorbenko also spoke to the Italian newspaper and showed her mental strength. As she told the Israeli media, she said in the interview: "I am here to do what I love, what I do best. I have the privilege to represent Israel in difficult times, and I am proud of it. If anyone doesn't like it, it's not my problem." About Franceschi's support, Gorbenko said: "She is a good friend and a wonderful person."
Gorbenko set a historic achievement on Sunday when she won the silver medal in the 400 meter medley at the World Championships in Qatar, becoming the first ever Israeli medalist in the history of Israeli swimming at the championships.
Beyond the amazing achievement, Gorbenko also broke an Israeli record when she stopped the clock at 4:37.36 minutes, after leading throughout most of the race and coming close to a gold medal. Gorbenko finished 24 hundredths of a second away from the 4:37.14 minutes of Britain's Freya Colbert, who came first place.
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