(JTA) — Vladislav Bykanov won Israel’s first-ever gold medal at the European Short Track Speed Skating championship.
Bykanov, originally from Ukraine, took the 3,000-meter race on Sunday in the Netherlands, beating Russia’s Viktor Ahn, the world champion, by some 500 meters and 15 seconds.
“I am very pleased with my performance in this season because I manage to stay focused even when I fail,” Bykanov told Ynet. “Of course, training with the Dutch team has also been an enormous help.”
Bykanov, 26, failed to qualify for the 1,500-meter semifinals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by less than a second. He had carried the flag for Israel’s delegation during the opening ceremonies.