Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships
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Kenya-born runner is Israel's first European champion

Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter wins gold at European Championships

Salpeter comes in first at 10,000-meter race in Berlin, beating Susan Krumins of the Netherlands by 9 full seconds

Israel's Lonah Chemtai Salpeter celebrates winning the women's 10.000 meter final race at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Israel's Lonah Chemtai Salpeter celebrates winning the women's 10.000 meter final race at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter won the women’s 10,000-meter run at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin Wednesday, completing the race in 31 minutes, 43.29 seconds.

Israeli-Kenyan Salpeter came 9 full seconds ahead of Susan Krumins of the Netherlands, winning the gold medal. Sweden’s Meraf Bahta came third.

The 29-year-old became the first Israeli to be crowned European champion.

“I still don’t believe it,” she said afterwards. “I’m really happy. I dreamed of this, but I didn’t believe it happened.”

Salpeter will receive a grant of NIS 40,000 (some $11,000) from Israeli sports authorities for her win.

Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter reacts after winning the women’s 10,000m final race during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on August 8, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Tobias SCHWARZ)

Born in Kenya, she first came to Israel in 2008, working as a caretaker at Kenya’s embassy in Tel Aviv. While running at a Herzliya park, she was noticed by running coach Moti Mizrahi, who suggested she train professionally.

She later met coach Dan Salpeter, and the two were eventually married. In 2016 she received Israeli citizenship.

AP contributed to this report.

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