Israeli artistic swimmers dance to gold at European Games 'just 10 mins from Auschwitz'

The artistic swimming team had 'tears in their eyes' after winning gold medals


Israel’s artistic swimmers have danced to success and won a gold medal at the European Games being held in Poland.

The 11-strong female team won gold in the Team Free Routine Combination. It marked Israel’s first-ever European gold and second European team medal overall.

The team recorded a score of 248.6083 after performing a routine to the theme of “Modern Spanish Dance” last Friday (June 23). They beat Germany and Turkey to the top medal position. 

Israeli sports chiefs hailed the victory especially as the Aquatic element of the games was occurring just 10 minutes from the Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim.

Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of Nazi Germany’s genocide of six million European Jews during the second world war. 

Israeli Olympic Association Chairperson Yael Arad told Channel 13 last week: “An emotional morning with a first medal for the delegation to the games.

“There is nothing more symbolic than standing with your head held high and singing [the Israeli national anthem] Hatikvah just 10 minutes from Auschwitz."

She said the whole team had “tears in our eyes” and added: “We promised to carry the memory of our Jewish brethren and that is what we are doing.”

Israeli swimmer Shelly Bobritsky said: “We were very focused before the competition as we knew we had a chance to win this event and that gave us huge motivation.

“We were really determined, felt the energy in the water so I think our swim was quite good. 

“We wanted to catch the judges’ eyes, do our best and we just did that. It was so nice to hear our national anthem played at the end.”

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