Israeli windsurfers. (Boaz Oppenheim/Flash90) Boaz Oppenheim/Flash90
Israeli windsurfers. (Boaz Oppenheim/Flash90)

Shahar Tibi wins Israel’s first sailing world title in a decade, while teammate Katy Spychakov snags the silver.

By Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21c

Israeli windsurfer Shahar Tibi, 25, won the gold medal in the women’s iQFoil category at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Netherlands on August 19, earning Israel’s first world title at the sailing contest in a decade.

More than 1,200 sailors from 80 nations competed in the World Championships, which encompassed 10 Olympic sailing disciplines.

Team Israel’s Katy Spychakov, 24, won a silver medal in the same competition, coming in second behind Tibi. Two other Israelis, Tamar Steinberg and Sharon Kantor, placed in the top 10 in the race.

Tibi told reporters after the event that she had no words to describe her excitement at getting to the podium, an aspiration that eluded her last year.

She dedicated her win to Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits, who claimed world titles in 2003, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Korzits currently is battling blood cancer.

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that took place belatedly in 2021, Spychakov placed sixth overall in windsurfing, and Tibi placed eighth.

Sailing is one of the most prominent sport fields in Israel, earning Israel its first Olympic gold medal when windsurfer Gal Friedman – who’d won a bronze in 1996 — beat the competition in the Athens Games in 2004. Shahar Zubari won the bronze medal for Israel in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Earlier Saturday, Israel’s Yoav Omar took third place in the men’s windsurfing quarterfinal and finished in sixth place overall.

In July, Israeli sailors Eli Wright and Yuval Brannon won the 49er FX Junior World Championships in Germany.

“These are moments of glory for Israeli sailing,” commented Shai Buber, chairman of the Israel Sailing Association.

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