ZILBERMAN

Misha Zilberman says ‘anti-Israel sentiment’ cost him victory

Israeli badminton player Misha Zilberman finished runner-up at the IBB Turkish International Badminton Cup – though blamed his defeat in the final to what he described as being ‘anti-Israeli sentiment’.

Saying he only lost the final against Belgian Yuhan Tan due to bias umpiring, Zilberman won the first set 21-12, though lost the second and third 21-13, 21-18.

Taking to Facebook to express his feelings, he said: “After a tough period I’m back on the podium, in second place. Not because my opponent was better than me, but because the two umpires were from Turkey. After I took the first set 21-12, they did everything so that the Israeli won’t win a gold in Turkey. Second place is alright as well. Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me.”

Zilberman made worldwide headlines two weeks ago when he was initially denied a visa from Indonesian authorities ahead of the world championships in Jakarta. Although he was finally allowed into the country at the last minute, which resulted in him losing in the first round, he claimed officials had tried to “break him and humiliate him”, while also revealing he received death threats.