Israeli team disappointed by performance at sailing championship
Israeli teams finished out of the running in the World Disabled Sailing Championships in Halifax, missing qualifying for the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, but they still have one more chance to qualify next year.
Seven Sonar boats qualified in the Halifax event, which concluded on Aug. 24, but Israeli Sonar coach, Israel Altman, says the chances are good in 2015, “if the money is available to train, compete in pre-regattas and travel to Melbourne.”
The Sonar team of Dror Cohen, Arnon Efrati and Shimon Ben-Yakov placed 10th of 18 boats, with a best finish of fifth in their first race.
France finished first, followed by Canada and Australia. Great Britain, Greece, Germany and Norway also qualified.
Five SKUD 18 teams made the cut for Rio, but Israel missed out, finishing last in a field of 14. The best finish for Moshe and Hagar Zahavi was ninth in their first race of the weeklong event.
Australia topped the field, followed by qualifiers Great Britain, Italy, Canada and the United States.
Altman said the Sonar team made tactical mistakes in races that ran in light winds through most of the week.
“We also suffered from lack of training opportunities, mostly because of events at home.
“There was a bad feeling being away from home,” he said Sunday evening. “We disappointed our families and supporters [because] we wanted so badly to bring some good spirit, instead of the Gaza rocket atmosphere.”
He added, “We know what it takes to earn a medal. But without results, we get no funding [at home], and without funding, we’ll not be training.”
The teams that finished ahead of Israel train year-round. Altman said most of them participated in several regattas in the last year, while Israel didn’t even train.
“Our chances are high to qualify through Melbourne if we have the funds to train properly,” he stressed.
Reaction from the SKUD 18 team was unavailable at press time,