Young guns keep Israel on the map


Over the past few days, we have seen some incredible achievements by Israeli athletes who have well and truly put themselves on the map. And a fourth could be just around the corner.

The Elitzur Ramle team reached the final of the EuroCup for the first time after beating holders Athinaikos over two legs.

The surprise package of the women's basketball competition, the Israelis will play Arras, with the first match at home on Thursday followed by a meeting in France on March 24.

Ramle are the second Israeli team to reach the final. Ramat Hasharon were beaten by Las Palmas in 1999.

Ramle are a mixture of home-grown players and US imports with two Israeli heroes - former WNBA forward Shay Doron and Ribi Greenbaum - scoring 20 points each in Athens.

Ramle coach Edan Inbar said: "We plan on making history by winning the cup. Arras are a good side but they are no better than us. We were incredible in Greece even though the referees were against us and it was difficult to play our normal game."

Then there is Josh Evans. For one so young, he has made big strides in a short space of time and Herschel Gutman, Israel's National Cricket Development Officer, believes that he is destined for the top.

Gutman said: "Josh is a huge talent. He has been a fantastic addition to the local leagues and has performed remarkably in his debut season for the national team."

Ahead of Evans' stint at the ICC Europe academy of excellence, Guttman said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for him to enjoy the sport that he loves with players who will challenge him. I have no doubt he will come back a smarter cricketer and be ready to help lead us in our quest for the Under 19 Euro B division gold and the Senior Euro Division One T20 tournaments later in the summer. I am very excited for him."

Having failed to impress coaches at Liverpool and Arsenal, Under 17 captain Omri Altman has agreed terms with Fulham. Agent Gilad Katzav said: "Omri is negotiating his personal terms with the club. We hope he will be able to move there in a week or two."

Altman's club, Maccabi Tel Aviv, would also receive funds for a player they nurtured. The player's mother lives and works in London and he would qualify for a work permit as his parents have EU citizenship.

The performance of Danielle Frenkel at the European Indoor Championships was quite incredible when you think that she has only been in track and field for four years. Frenkel was a professional ballet dancer and member of the Bat Dor company. She gave it up aged 19 and having made giant strides, has been tip to fly the flag for Israel in the high jump at the 2012 Olympics.

The London Games will come too soon for Sam Goldstone of Edgware, but the eight-year-old is clearly one to watch after outfoxing me in a chess match. Young Sam put the win down to a combination of his after-school club and his grandfather.

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