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Behind the Headlines Israeli Team Leaving for Teheran to Participate in the 7th Asian Games

The largest Israeli team ever to participate in international sports leaves this week for Teheran for participation in the Seventh Asian Games which will take place from Sept. 1 to 16. While there is no fear, there is a bit of apprehension concerning the safety of the competitors, and the delegation, consequently, will include a large number of security people. The total number in the Israeli party comes to 91 people. Yosef Inbar, president of the Israeli Olympic Committee, and Haim Glovinsky, executive secretary of the Committee left for Teheran last Friday in order to finalize all arrangements for the entertainment of the Israeli contingent.

It is interesting to note that among the 26 countries involved in the Games will be four Arab states: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrein Shmuel Lalkin, chef d’mission for the Israelis, who was in Teheran a week ago, indicated, “I do not know if the Arabs will compete against us, but Israeli sportsmen will not withdraw from any event because Arab athletes are lined up against them.” Lalkin indicated that the facilities for the Games are among the finest in the world, and the central stadium will seat 100,000 spectators. Built at a phenomenal expense, the indoor stadiums and swimming pools are air conditioned.

So far as Israel’s chances are concerned, the indications here in Tel Aviv are that the team will return with several gold and silver medals. They are given a good chance for the soccer title, playing in the same bracket as South Korea and the Philippines. Israel’s premier long distance runner, Yuval Vishnitzer, had been performing excellently in Sweden recently and was accorded an excellent chance for medals in both the 5000 and 10,000-meter runs.

TOP WOMEN ATHLETES TO PARTICIPATE

The top woman athlete in the nation, Esther Shachamorov-Roth, who performed outstandingly at Munich prior to the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games, has not regained her Olympic Games form as yet, but is expected to have a chance to cop a medal in the hurdles. In addition, she will compete in both the 100 and 200-meter sprints. Possibly the most likely female candidate for a gold medal is Israel’s 17-year-old Orit Abramowitz, who jumps a la Fosbury going over the barrier with back to the timber.

Another woman contender, who already has a gold medal in the 800-meters to her credit in the Asian Games, is 29-year-old Hannah Shisifl, who will likewise compete in the 1500 meters, together with 19-year-old Rachel Hella. If Paulina Peisachov, the number one woman tennis performer, returns from her North American tour in time, she should provide strong opposition to the best in Asia, particularly if she shows the form that won her the Beckenham and Chichester championships in England last month.

In order to qualify for the Teheran Games, all athletes selected bettered the “minimums” established by the Israel Sports Federation. These “minimums” are predicated on the third best performances produced last year in Asia. Four years ago in Bangkok, Israel won gold medals in track and field and shooting, as well as taking silver medals both in basketball and soccer.

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