Peer part of Olympic history; Shatilov flips into finals

Rays of hope in tennis, gymnastics among disappointments for Israeli team in London.

Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer

Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer

Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer was part of history at the Olympics today, after tournament officials closed the retractable roof over Center Court at Wimbledon. This was the first time in 100 years that Olympic tennis was played indoors.

The summer rain shower initially delayed the start of the match between Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Julia Goerges of Germany. The last time tennis was played under a roof at the Olympics was in the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

Peer faced a tough first-round encounter against world No. 3 Maria Sharapova, losing both sets to her Russian opponent in under an hour. Peer has made no secret that she does not like playing on grass and Sharapova is considered a top contender for a medal.

Israel scored a step-up in men’s tennis yesterday as Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich progressed to the second round of the men’s doubles tournament, beating their Spanish opponents in straight sets.

Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov hopes to bring home one, or two, medals starting this Wednesday. Early results show that Shatilov is currently ranked fourth in the floor exercises and 12th in the all-around category.

“I’m here to win a medal. I won’t settle for anything less,” he said.

Shatilov will take part in the floor finals on Wednesday and the all-around finals next Sunday. Fellow Israeli gymnast Felix Aronovich, a first-time Olympian, ranked 32nd in the all-around competition.

Overall, Israel’s first weekend at the Olympics of 2012 was not especially impressive.

In badminton, Misha Zilberman lost to Singapore’s Derek Wong and has been disqualified. In judo, Israel had a disappointing day with Golan Pollack losing his first round to David Larose of France in the U66-kg. contest. Artyom Arshansky, who started on the right foot in the U60-kg., bowed out of competition when he lost to Hiroaki Hiraoka of Japan.

“We had hoped that he could take the bout into overtime, but his lack of experience cost him. That will come in time,” said his coach Oren Smadja, a bronze medalist at the Barcelona Games in 1992.

The swimming delegation found the competition tough and failed to reach the semi-finals in any stroke.

Nimrod Shapira Bar-On came second in his qualifying heat in the 200m freestyle today but was not fast enough for the semi-finals. Shapira Bar-On had put Jonathan Koplev‘s name on his swim hat – Koplev had his Olympic hopes dashed after an appendectomy sidelined him.

Yakov-Yan Toumarkin competed in the 100m backstroke and didn’t push into the semis either. Yesterday, Gal Nevo swam the 400m medley but didn’t get past the qualifying heat, Amit Ivry shared his fate in the 100m butterfly heat, as did Imri Ganiel in the 100m breaststroke.

But perhaps the biggest blue-and-white disappointment so far was Valeria Maksiota‘s performance in artistic gymnastics. In the women’s individual all-around event today, Maksiota fell twice during her routine and finished last in the qualifying rounds.

Related Articles

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.