Led by 15-year-old Anastasya Gorbenko, the Israeli team took home three medals, offering a glimpse of a promising future.
By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News
Israel’s 2018 Youth Olympic team gave the country something to smile about Out of 19 who traveled to Buenos Aires, three scored medals – a gold, a paired silver and a bronze.
Led by 15-year-old Anastasya Gorbenko, the Israeli team made history in the individual swimming medley. She set a national record of 2:12.88 to take home the top prize.
Yonatan Fridman and Noa Kazado Yakar took home silver in an acrobatic gymnastics event, losing by a mere 0.260 points to Bulgaria’s team.
In an emotional moment, the two ran into the arms of coach Shiran Ouaknine as soon as they finished their routine, dedicating the performance to Ouaknine’s late boyfriend.
“He passed away in a motorcycle accident in April this year,” Ouaknine said. “Noa, Yonatan and me have done everything to win a medal here. I am sure that he looked down on us today.”
“We are like a family and we spend a lot of time together,” Fridman said, “That made us stronger and helped us to this medal. … Noa really is a great friend for me. She understands me and knows when to push me.”
Denis Loktev, in the second day of the swimming competition, took home the bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle to cap off Israel’s win streak.
In total, 12 Israeli boys and seven girls took part in the Youth Olympic Games. They participated in several contests, including gymnastics, athletics, acrobatic gym, athletic gym, rhythmic gym, judo, taekwondo, swimming, triathlon and sailing.
At the end of the games on Friday, the Israeli team remained in Argentina, touring the rebuilt AMIA Buenos Aires Jewish community center that was bombed by terrorists in 1994. That attack killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.
Israeli Ambassador to Argentina Ilan Sztulman joined the team over the weekend. He led a visit to the site of the Israeli Embassy attack in 1992, which killed 29 individuals.