ONE OF Israel’s most promising athletes has decided to call it a day. At the tender age of just 25, Alice Schlesinger has fought her last fight for Israel – and unfortunately it was against Israel. Over the past ten years, Schlesinger has proudly represented her country all over the world, reaching the quarter-finals in the past two Olympic Games, winning bronze at the World Championships in 2009 and gold at several U20 European Championships.
Fiercely patriotic, she won gold for Israel at the 2005 Maccabiah Games, and only last summer, triumphed in the 64 and 66kg events at the World University Games in Kazan. However, it has since all gone pear-shaped. Every story does of course have two sides to it, though not for the first time, Schlesinger has come out fighting. Reduced to tears, she told reporters, amongst other things, how the chairman of the Israeli Judo Association was trying to “destroy her career”, that she wouldn’t have been allowed to go to the 2016 Games in Rio even if she’d been the world’s top-ranked fighter, and accused officials of carrying out a character assassination on her.
Not even in the prime of her sporting career, Israel’s loss will be someone else’s gain. Countries such as Azerbaijan and Turkey have already been in touch with her with regards to her representing them, while Great Britain is even an option given that her mother is Jewish.
Local officials claim what she’s saying are lies and full of inaccuracies, but there’s certainly no smoke without wire. Whatever the outcome, and whoever’s right or wrong, what this sorry, unpleasant mess has done is leave is a very nasty taste in the mouth.