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Friday, May 25, 2012

Israeli swimmer wins European gold

Koplev after finishing the race (Photo: AP)

Jonathan Koplev becomes first Israeli to hold European championship title in men’s 50m backstroke; Guy Barnea takes meet’s bronze

Swimmer Jonathan Koplev became the first Israeli to hold the European championship title after setting a new personal best of 24.73 seconds in the men’s 50-meter backstroke and winning the gold medal.

Swimmer Guy Barnea joined Koplev on the winners’ podium, taking the meet’s bronze medal after setting a time of 25.15 seconds.

Italy’s Mirco Di Tora won the silver medal.

Koplev and Barnea’s double win, joined by swimmer Yakov Toumarkin’s winning the bronze medal at the men’s 100-meter backstroke on Wednesday, improved the Israeli team’s ranking in the championship placing them in third place.

“This is unbelievably exciting. I knew he could do it – he lived up to all of our expectations and more,” Koplev’s trainer Hanan Sterling said.

He added he hoped Koplev would represent Israel in the 4×100 relay race at the Olympic qualifications.