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Road racing cyclist Omer Shapira wins spot for Israel in Tokyo Olympics

National champion has successful world championship performance, but she won’t necessarily be the athlete to represent Jewish state

Israeli road racing cyclist Omer Shapira. (Screenshot: Facebook)
Israeli road racing cyclist Omer Shapira. (Screenshot: Facebook)

Road racing cyclist Omer Shapira on Tuesday guaranteed Israel a place at the women’s time trial contest in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Shapira, 25, the national Israeli champion, finished 13th of 53 competitors at the world championship in Britain, completing the 30.3-kilometer (18.8-mile) track in 46 minutes and 41 seconds.

After accounting for the fact that only one athlete per country can compete in the Olympic games, Shapira was promoted to eighth place. The first ten places automatically qualified, while 15 more cyclists will also make the 2020 games via the world rankings.

However, Shapira won’t necessarily be the one representing Israel. The Israeli cyclist with the best eventual world ranking will get that honor.

The achievement comes as Israeli athletes are on a roll, with the country’s baseball team qualifying for the first time and rhythmic gymnasts Linoy Ashram and Nicol Zelikman also making the Olympics. Ashram, who won six medals at the world championship, is seen as a top candidate for an Israeli Olympic medal.

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