Misha Zilberman qualified for the London Olypmics as Israel’s first representative in the Badminton event.
Last month, standing 1,500 ranking points outside of the final qualifying position, Zilberman completed a magical run to the finals of the Tahiti Air Nui International to sneak into the qualification list released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) earlier this week.
Despite losing the final in 2 games to Malaysian Tan Chon Sueng, and dropping his bid to win a first international title, Zilberman’s four tournament wins landed him the qualification spot, just 96 points clear of the benchmark.
Zilberman, whose mother won bronze in the women’s badminton event at the 1986 European Championships, said the qualification was a “most sweet ending” to a year of hard work, yet, declared, “now I have to keep working hard to get ready for London and to represent my country honorably.”
Ranked 64th in the world, Zilberman will join tennis star Shahar Peer and Judo champion Alice Shlesinger, and 40-50 other athletes representing Israel in London this summer, hoping to build on their one bronze-medal performance in Beijing 2008.
Since first visiting the Olympics in Helsinki, 1952, Israel has won 7 medals, with Gal Fridman winning Israel’s only gold medal at the Men’s sailboard event in the 2004 Athen’s Games.