Israeli windsurfers claimed the gold and silver medals for the women’s iQFoil category at the Sailing World Championships in the Netherlands Saturday, in a significant achievement for the Israeli national team.
Shahar Tibi, 25, took first place at the event hosted by The Hague, winning Israel’s first world title at the contest in a decade. Katy Spychakov, 24, came second.
“I can’t explain what I am feeling and I can’t be happier about what we achieved,” Tibi told reporters after the event.
“This was a physically hard day and week. I wasn’t able to get to the podium last year and this time is my first time, so I’m very excited. Thanks to everyone at home, to the sailing association, to the national team, to my parents and family. Thanks to everyone, I have no words.”
Tibi dedicated her win to Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits, who claimed four world titles in 2003, 2011, 2012, and 2013. She suffers from Polycythemia vera, a rare blood cancer.
“Ten years have passed since she won her fourth and last world title. I was there with her as a 15-year-old teenager. Korzits is fighting for her life and inspired me and many others,” Tibi said.
“These are moments of glory for Israeli sailing,” said Shai Buber, chair of the Israel Sailing Association in a statement. “Since Lee Korzits there hasn’t been an Israeli world champion, and today we have a champion and a runner-up. It is inspiring to see Shahar Tibi reach this status, and good on her.”
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 19, 2023
Tibi represented Israel in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she was placed eighth overall, and Spychakov placed sixth.
Earlier Saturday, the men’s quarter-final took place, where Israel’s Yoav Omar took third place behind the United Kingdom’s Sam Sills and Italy’s Luca Di Tomassi.