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Bereaved swimmer sets Israeli mark

An Israeli swimmer who stayed in the Olympics despite the sudden death of his father set a national record.

Alon Mandel finished the 200-meter butterfly in one minute, 59.27 seconds Monday, which despite the Israeli record may not be good enough to qualify him for the semifinals at the Beijing Games.

Mandel’s father and longtime coach, Kostia Mandel, was killed tragically last week when he fell from a ladder while trying to put up a banner in support of his son outside their Netanya home.

“It was very hard. It was a family decision to stay and compete, and I wanted to do this for my dad,” Mandel said. “As an athlete I wanted to stay, but I’m a human being first of all.”

Mandel’s mother and sisters supported his decision to stay in China. Mandel is scheduled to return to Israel to join his relatives for the shiva mourning period.

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