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Freilich wins gold at European Fencing Championships

Israel’s Yuval Freilich caused a major surprise by winning the gold medal in the European Fencing Championships in the men's epee in Dusseldorf

    Yuval Freilich took up fencing aged five after his parents took him to watch the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. (Photo: Twitter)
    Yuval Freilich took up fencing aged five after his parents took him to watch the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. (Photo: Twitter)

    Ranked 40 before the start of the tournament, he beat world no. 13 Andrea Santarelli in the final to claim Israel’s first-ever medal in a major fencing tournament.

    Freilich, 24, is the son of Australian immigrants. A former European youth and Under-23 champion, he took up fencing aged five after his parents took him to watch the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. When he was 13 his parents successfully petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice against tournaments being held on Shabbat. Freilich, who is no longer Shabbat observant, does now compete on Saturdays.

    Although he has yet to officially qualify for next year’s Olympics, his European title earns him an £11,000 grant from the Israel Olympic Committee.

    Freilich said: “It’s the most incredible feeling. I had an amazing day as everything connected - the fencing, the energy, the feeling. It just all came together.”

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