Shalom Life | June 26, 2015

Israeli Wrestler Captures Silver in European Games

Ilana Kratysh claims Israel’s first medal at European Games

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: June 16th, 2015 in Sports » World

Israeli Wrestler Captures Silver in European Games

Photo: Ilana Kratysh

Credit: Jerusalem Post


Israel’s Ilana Kratysh took home a silver medal on Monday at the European Games, placing in the women’s 69-kilogram freestyle wrestling in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Kratysh, who has been battling a cruciate ligament knee injury over the past year, was able to defeat London 2012 Olympic champion and former European champion Natalia Vorebova of Russia in the semifinals, but couldn’t best Alina Stadnik Makhynia of Ukraine in the finals. Kratysh lost to Makhynia 3-1.

“I’m aware that this is an historic medal for Israel and it is a great honor,” said the 24-year-old wrestler, who has already began focusing on this year’s World Championships. Kratysh will also receive a NIS 28,000 bonus from the Olympic Committee of Israel, with the wrestling events in Baku also acting as this year’s European championships.

“I’ve been through a tough period and was very emotional after advancing to the final. On the one hand, this is very exciting, but on the other, I really wanted the gold medal,” Kratysh added. Kratysh has also won the silver medal at the European championships in each of the previous two years.

President of the European Olympic Committees Patrick Hickey, has called the opening days of the inaugural games “remarkable.”

The yearly competition kicked off with an extravagant opening ceremony Friday that has been reported to cost up to $95 million, and included an appearance from six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga.

Other Israeli athletes are also hoping to take home some hardware for the Jewish state. Gymnast Alex Shatilov has secured his place in another final in Baku, completing the all-around qualifiers in 11th place. “I’m feeling good and I hope to improve my results in the final,” Shatilov told reporters.

Israeli air-rifle shooters Sergey Richter and Leor Madlal are hoping to secure their places in next year’s Rio Olympics with a strong finish in Baku. “I feel excited and I’m confident,” said Richter, who also represented Israel in the 2012 London Olympics. “My target is to win the gold medal as that will guarantee my place in Rio. It is about time I qualify as that will allow me to prepare for the Olympics without any pressure.”

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