Israeli windsurfers dominate podium at championship

Korzits wins gold, Davidovich bronze to highlight a strong performance for the blue-and-white delegation

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Lee Korzits, left, and Maayan Davidovich racing on Monday. (photo credit: courtesy
Lee Korzits, left, and Maayan Davidovich racing on Monday. (photo credit: courtesy

Windsurfer Lee Korzits won gold at the world championships in Brazil on Wednesday, with fellow Israeli Maayan Davidovich trailing close behind in third.

It marked the first time in history that the blue-and-white delegation had two representatives on the same podium, and highlighted a strong performance in which two of the men also placed in the top 10.

Korzits left competitors in her wake en route to her third consecutive gold medal in the premier tournament outside of the Olympic Games, as she secured the victory before the final race.

The windsurfer was close to a medal at the London 2012 Summer Games in August, but a bad final race pushed her down to sixth place.

The 29-year-old Korzits, who in 2009 overcame a serious spinal injury that nearly killed her, won her first world championships in 2003, becoming the youngest person ever to take the gold at the prestigious competition.

Davidovich entered the medal race tied for second, but a ninth place finish in the last event dropped her into third. It was the 24-year-old’s first medal at the world championships, though she has won medals in a number of other international competitions over the years.

Israeli men also fared well at the meet, though stellar performances by the British team pushed them out of the medal zone. Nimrod Mashiah finished in sixth place and Shahar Zubari came in seventh.

“The great achievements of Korzits and Davidovich, and the high positioning of the men, clearly place Israeli windsurfing at the fore in preparations for the 2016 [Olympic] Games in Rio,” Israel’s National Olympic Committee chairman Efraim Zinger said in a statement.

Both Korzits and Davidovich are experienced competitors whom younger athletes look up to, Zinger stated, praising the dedication of the medal winners. Their hard work “proves how much they want to fulfill the Olympic dream — winning an Olympic medal… despite the hardships and disappointments along the way,” he said.

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