Israel announced a 39-member delegation to the Beijing Olympic Games this summer amid some controversy.
Several team members named by the Olympic Committee of Israel this week must still prove themselves at upcoming national and international events in order to go to China.
Tennis player Dudu Sela, who lost this week in the first round of Wimbledon and is ranked 60th in the world, expressed his anger at the committee for being excluded. Doubles partners Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich will try for an elusive medal in tennis.
Sailor Udi Gal failed a drug test last week. He said the banned substance was one of the ingredients found in an anti-balding medication he is taking.
At age 53, marathon runner Halie Satayin, a native of Ethiopia, is the oldest member of the team. In an interview with National Public Radio, Satayin said the monthly stipend he earns from the Israel Athletic Association does not cover rent and food.
“The government doesn’t do enough for athletes here,” he told NPR. “It’s not just me, it’s all of us. The government doesn’t invest in us, and a lot of athletes are quitting. I love running, so I’m not stopping – but a lot of others are.”