Sport news

Pole vaulter to become Israeli citizen

By Brian Sacks, December 30, 2009

Pole vaulting

American pole vaulter Jillian Schwartz — who competed for the USA in the 2004 Olympics and won gold in this year’s Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv — has become an Israeli citizen.

Schwartz, 30, aims to compete for Israel in the 2012 Olympics in London.

Schwartz appeared at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, but didn’t reach the final. That same year, she became the fifth American woman to clear 15 feet and placed fourth at the indoor world championships in Hungary.

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Arik Shivek to share Israel role

By James Martin, December 30, 2009

Arik Shivek was yesterday announced as the new coach of Israel’s men’s basketball team, after the Israel Basketball Association allowed him to take up the role in a part-time capacity.

The 53-year-old, who agreed personal terms with the IBA last week, is currently the coach of Belgian club Dexia Mons-Hainaut, a position he will continue to hold as Israel boss.

His appointment was approved by IBA’s professional committee on Monday and he was officially named as Tzvika Sherf’s replacement when the IBA board ratified the decision yesterday.

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Nir Klinger sacked from Limassol club - because of Yom Kippur?

By James Martin, December 30, 2009

Nir Klinger has been sacked as coach of Cypriot club AEL Limassol, amid speculation that the club has been looking to get rid of him ever since he missed a crucial derby match because it fell on Yom Kippur.

The 44-year-old and his assistant, fellow Israeli Felix Naim, missed September’s match against Anorthosis Famagustas for religious reasons after the club’s attempt to move the game failed.

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Avram Grant's anger at African Cup losses

By James Martin, December 30, 2009

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant has expressed anger at losing four key men to the African Cup of Nations.

He is without Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, Nwankwo Kanu and Aruna Dindane until as late as the start of February when the tournament is completed. He is relieved that John Utaka and Kevin-Prince Boateng were not called up by Nigeria and Ghana respectively.

Speaking after the Boxing Day 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham, he said: “I don’t know why FIFA allows this tournament to go ahead in January. We pay a lot of money to big players who are not here for two months.”

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Peer on top at Ra'anana

By James Martin, December 30, 2009

Shahar Peer and Dudi Sela underlined their dominance of Israeli tennis by winning their respective Israeli championship titles in Ra’anana last weekend.

World number 29 Peer comfortably disposed of Julia Glushko (320), 6-3, 6-0, while Sela (43) lifted his first national title since 2006 with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Amir Weintraub (576).

Peer, who won her sixth national championships and her fourth in a row, insists that she is attempting to surpass Tova Epstein’s record of eight in a row, achieved between 1965 and 1972.

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Jewish sports person of the decade

December 23, 2009

We want to hear who you think was the greatest Jewish sports person of the decade.

Perhaps Israeli football icon Yossi Benayoun for his consistent brilliance in both La Liga and the Premier League, or Arik Ze’evi, three-time European judo champion and Athens Olympics gold-medal winner in 2004;

Tennis star Andy Ram, the first Israeli to win a Grand Slam, at the Australian Open in 2008?

Or maybe American swimmer Jason Lezak who has won gold medals at both the summer Olympics and Maccabiah.

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Bayern Munich chase Haifa's Golasa

By James Martin, December 23, 2009

Maccabi Haifa’s teenage sensation Eyal Golasa has reportedly attracted the interest of German giants Bayern Munich.

German newspaper Bild claim that Munich are facing competition from fellow Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen for his signature.

The 18-year-old midfielder impressed scouts of the Bavarian giants with a number of outstanding performances during Haifa's Champions League campaign and Munich are reportedly keen to add Golasa to their squad in the summer of 2010.

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Bafana Bafana quit MSFL

By Danny Caro and James Martin, December 23, 2009

Premier Division Bafana Bafana have become the fourth team to fold this season, with player-manager Adam Gishen reluctantly pulling out the MSFL side because he was “struggling to field a team”.

The club, which finished seventh last year, were lying second bottom with a win and draw from six games. And Gishen admitted this week: “It’s stopped being fun.”

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John Gregory 'not qualified to coach in Israel'

By Simon Griver, December 23, 2009

Former Aston Villa boss John Gregory’s future as manager of Maccabi Ahi Nazareth is uncertain because he is not qualified to coach in Israel.

Only coaches with Uefa qualifications are allowed to stand on the touchline during matches.

The Israel FA received a letter from the English FA on Monday which said: “John Gregory has the FA Full Badge. Although this is not valid and approved by Uefa, it was still an official qualification within England at the time it was taken.”

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Convicted fraudster to help Pompey

By Simon Griver and Danny Caro, December 23, 2009

Israeli lawyer Daniel Azougy, a convicted fraudster, is reportedly in charge of managing struggling Premier League club Portsmouth’s finances.

Azougy, who was brought in by owner Ali Al Faraj last week to try to reduce the club’s £60 million debt, was convicted on four counts of fraud and sentenced to five months in prison in 2001 by the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court.

In 2002 he was found guilty in the Tel Aviv District Court of obstructing the course of justice by showing false documents to judges.

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