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April 26, 1991     Jewish News
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April 26, 1991

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2--UJFApril 26, 1991 SOVIET JEWR SETTLEMENT Soviet aliyah -- changing the face of Israeli sports By Danny Ben.Tal (WZPS) No Israeli sportsman has ever won an Olympic medal. But all that might change at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games as the present influx of immi- grants from the Soviet Union brings with it a clutch of world- class athletes in many sporting spheres. Local observers talk of half the Israeli delegation in Barcelona speaking Russian. Although only two or three Sovi- et immigrants can realistically stake heir claim to a place in the Israeli Olympic squad at this stage, a number of others have registered results close to Olympic minimum qualifying standards. Meanwhile, many other leading Soviet Jewish sportsmen look to be Israel- bound. Sporting excellence was often a passport to a secure and rela- tively affluent lifestyle in the eastern bloc countries. Top ath- letes' lifestyles were governed by the state which so generously sponsored them. But, as Israel Athletics Association (IAA) sec- retary Avi Stein points out, "The Soviet immigrants will have to get used to a different system here. While athletics is seen as a respectable profession in the Soviet Union, here in Israel it suffers from a chronic lack of Olympic medal in modem ath- funds, amenities and public sup- letics," says Stein. port." In the throwing events, three Of all the track and field ath- Soviet immigrants have already letes to have arrived in Israel this past year, 23 year-old Vladimir Ostrovski is seen as : .... the best medal prospect. One of the world's top ten 20 kilometer walkers, he has been adopted by sports-mad Kibbutz Ha'Ogen since his aliyah in September. Yet can the life of a kibbutz ulpan student allow him to maintain his gruelling training schedule? =An athlete'must put in some 50 hours of training a week if he wants to make the grade in modem international competi- tion," says Stein. Although Ostrovski is now coached by a fellow Soviet immigrant, Bat Yam-based Areadi Floskin, the IAA is currently negotiating the possibility of bringing his former coach to Israel for a month. Another possibility being explored is Ostrovski joining the Czechoslovakian team for a series of training camps leading up to the world championships in Tokyo next August. Czechoslovakia ranks with Italy and the Soviet Union as world leaders in long-distance walk. ing.  =We've already over stretched our budget this year, but such is the price of an Crossroad Cleaners and Laundry Quality Work and Serivce at a Reasonable Price Next to Sai Gai Restaurant 7517 Granby Street * Norfolk, Va 423-5828 FOUNDED " @Ii@E on/40 miles from ]940 New York City MEETING THE NEEDS OF TODAY'S YOUTH IN A TRADITIONAl. 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US TODAY • (914) 782-8695 WE MAY BE EXACI"LY WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR StME_rY Dmw/Dctor Six foot 4-inch Vida Baslana, 31, a new immigrant from the Soviet Union and the Soviet's leading bas- keall woman scorer, now plays ]or the Elitzur Sela club in Rishon leZion. (WZPS photo by Haim Ziv.) CAFE 21 • GRILLED FISH Impeccably fresh, expertly prepared • FRESH PASTA Vegetarian, meat and seafood sauces • CHICAGO STUFFED PIZZA It's outrageous! • AWARD-WINNING CHICKEN SALAD • EXTRAORDINARY DESSERTS • ESPRESSO/ CAPPUClNO 21st St. Near Colley Avenue, Ghent (next to Revco) 625-4218 Openforlunch and dinner seven days. Sunday Bmnch sewed 11-3 placed themselves at the head of the local pack. Igor Avrulin, 33, whose career peaked in the mid- 80s, has set new national records in both the shot-put and discus events, while Tel Aviv University student Igor Giller and Vadim Babikin-Lemer have improved the local hammer and javelin marks respectively. Tennis made its debut as an Olympic sport in Seoul in 1988. Israel may have a future medal- ist in 14 year-old aptly named Anna Smashnova, a recent arrival from Moscow. In last summer's European Junior Championships, her last compe- tition on Russian soil, she fin- ished second in the under- 15 section. Unlike Smashnova, lit- tle Lika Kazashvilli, who plays in Jaffa, will have to wait until her fourteenth birthday next year before International Tennis Federation rules will allow her to compete on the local pro cir- cuit. Other names to watch out for include 16 year-old Anatoli Tole- hansky, who can compete with Israel's best in his age group, and Boris Levine, 14, who is coached by his mother at the Ashkelon club. Israel would almost certainly have its first ever Olympic medalist if the Soviet authori- ties would allow Valerie Balenkih were to leave Russia. The gymnast - gold medalist at the men's World Cup tourna- ment held in Brussels in early November - will almost certain- ly represent the USSR in Barcelona instead. A number of other top Soviet Jewish male gymnasts, including Alex Jorbin, Pavel Korin and Ya'akov Lipehin, have meanwhile expressed interest in aliyah. Among the recent arrivals in girls' gymnastics have been 16 year-old Natasha Mazoehenko - already national champion in the recently-introduced rhyth- mic gymnastics event - and Masha Krupnikov, at 12 already a member of the national team. In the swimming pool, young immigrants from the Soviet Union and Romania have been pushing the local competition to the limit. Timea Toth, a former member of the K umanian national team, is seen as the best prospect. Barely two years in the country, she has already set several national records in both the freestyle and butterfly events, in which she ranks among the world's top 100 over 100 meter and 200 meter. Whereas Toth looks Barcelona- bound, the chances of other immigrants appear slimmer. Leading contenders include 200 meter breaststroke Shimon Savransky, currently hard on the heels of Israel's top swim- mer, Eran Grumi, and 17 year- old freestylist Sergei Pirov, who has already set two national records. Five of the current national water polo squad - three Rus- sians, a Rumanian and a Brazil- ian - immigrated during the past year. In addition, a number of top-class Soviet Jewish play- ers have contracted the Israeli Water Polo Association from the USSR. Excited officials now talk openly of Israel qualifying for water polo in the Olympic Games for the first time. Russian-speaking weightlifters and wrestlers rep- resenting Israel at the Olympics would be no novelty. Igor Dandik, a 25 year-old heavy- weight with a world-class lift of over 400 kilograms to his credit, already looks likely to follow a long line of Russian-born Israeli Olympic weightlifters, while Boris Goldberg, still only 16, has been widely tipped to join him. Probably the one sport to (Continued on page 14) Furniture and ::household for So end tables coffee tables kitchen tables & chairs h Family UVIRGINIA NEWS Published by The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Ire. 7300 Newport Avenue • Norfolk, VA 23505 • (804) 489-8040 Mavvia Hoflhzimer ......................... President Art Sandier .......................... President Elect Jan Bevker ............................ Vice-President Miehael Glauer ................... Vice-Preaident Dr. Warren Kareih ............... Vioe-President Robert M. in .................... Vice-Pruident /glee Davi .................................... Secretary Alvin Wall ...................................... 2Yeasurer Dr. Gary N. Rub/n ............. Exe’. Vice-Prea Harold l.k• .................... Assoc. Vice-Prea Relm ]Km-p ........................................... Editor Mark Him1 .................. Production Manager Sydney Gates .. AdvertisingRepreMntative line Green ......... Advertising Representative Sybfl ]Frledb-g Adverti,fing Repreaentative Beruard Mayer Advert/sing Representative TI appearance of advertising ia th UJF Virginia News do not ctmatitut a kashruth emrraen.