HINAWI

Marc Hinawi (Picture courtesy of Olympic committee of Israel)

Swimmer Marc Hinawi has claimed Israel’s eighth medal haul at the European Games.

Finishing in third place in the 1,500m final, he set a new personal best time and junior national record of 15:25.63. He said: “This feels amazing but I expected to register a better result. I’m really happy, but I believe I can swim faster. I’m improving with every year and my goal is to reach Rio 2016, not just Tokyo 2020.”

Israel’s have enjoyed their best ever medal haul at a major sporting tournament, which has seen them take their largest ever sporting delegation – 142 athletes. The rhythmic gymnasts – Yuval Filo, Alona Koshevatskiy, Ekaterina Levina, Karina Lykhvar and Ida Mayrin – have reached the podium three times, winning silver in the all-around and clubs and hoops competitions and bronze in the ribbon. Neta Rivkin, who represented Israel at the 2012 London Olympics, won bronze in the individual hoop.

National team coach Irina Vigdorchik praised them for their efforts, saying: “I thanked the girls for all that they did and told them that no matter what, we have the great privilege of representing the State of Israel. “The girls have been blessed by God. I was pleased with their performance because I knew they were tired. However, they continue to prove their worth time and again.” Rivkin said: “I’m really happy that I managed to end the competition with a medal, this is something I will always remember from my career.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his congratulations to the gymnasts on Twitter, tweeting: “Congratulations to the Israel delegation to the European Games for their impressive achievements. The citizens of Israel are proud of our sportsmen and sportswomen.”

Israel’s other wins to date have seen Ilana Kratysh win silver in the 69kg freestyle wrestling event, Olympic shooter Sergey Richter claimed bronze in the men’s 10m air rifle shooting event, while on Monday, the 22-strong athletics team claimed bronze in the Team Championships. The Games, being staged in Baku, Azerbaijan, finish on Sunday.