Israel’s U20 basketball team have written themselves into the record books after winning the country’s first ever FIBA competition at the European Championships.
It’s maiden victory in an event hosted by the sport’s international governing body, the Israelis beat Croatia 80-66 in the final, having finished last year’s event as runners-up.
Despite getting the tournament off to a slow start, Ariel Beit-Halachmi’s side then went on an impressive six-game winning streak, culminating in Sunday’s win.
Yovel Zoosman was named MVP of the tournament, with teammate, 17-year-old Deni Avdija, the youngest player in Chemnitz – joining him on the All-Star Five.
The squad received congratulations from both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu said: “Ariel, you attained a wonderful achievement and have brought us all tremendous pride. Beating both France and Croatia reminds me of the previous week and the World Cup. But in all seriousness, I have to say you notched a great and true triumph…waiting to meet you in Jerusalem.”
Rivlin said: “Congratulations to our dear friends, the Israeli basketball team who brought us the gold medal in the European Championship final in Germany tonight. What a proud Israeli moment.
“Thank you all who have brought us this great honor; we are waiting for you to celebrate the historic victory in Israel.”