The World Championships in Athletics

The Israeli athletes: "We will represent the country with honor"

Two days before the opening of the World Championships in Athletics in Budapest, the four members of the delegation to the competitions express hope that they will get to conquer the podium. "We want to represent the country with honor." Good luck!

Afrifah Blessing and his coach Yigal Balon (Photo: Athletics Association)

Moments before the opening whistle of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest this coming weekend, the four Israeli participants did not hide their excitement and sent a message to the entire country. "We are going to represent you with honor and pride."

The championship will take place between August 17-19. The two senior athletes in the delegation are Lonah Chemtai Salpeter and Blessing Afrifah from Maccabi Tel Aviv. Salpeter, considered one of the world's top marathon runners, indeed won a bronze medal in the marathon at the previous summer's World Championships in Oregon. "I am happy to represent Israel, my home, which supports me. Our team spirit gives us a lot of strength," said Salpeter.

"Hopefully standing on the podium"

Chemtai Salpeter talked about her preparations and expressed hope for a medal: "I am going to run my race without pressure. The training has been good, and I am optimistic about the outcome. I hope to make you all proud and hope to be on the podium. Wishing good luck to each of the men in our small delegation this year."

Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (Photo: Athletics Association)

"I want to represent the country with honor"

Afrifah holds titles of European U23 champion and U20 world champion in the 200 meters, and this will be his first World Championship as a senior athlete. "I am very excited about the World Championship," he said, adding, "I come in good shape; the European championship up to age 23 gave me a lot of confidence, but I know that a World Championship is a completely different story. I want to represent the country with honor, run as fast as possible, and do my best."

Two more participants in the delegation are Maru Teferi, the European marathon vice-champion from Munich 2022 and a member of the gold-winning team in the marathon at the same championship, and Aymaro Alamia. They will also be arriving in the capital of Hungary. "I am excited and happy to represent the country and myself in the World Championship; it's a great privilege for me," Teferi said. He mentioned that he has prepared well for the championship and feels good about it. "I will give my 100% in the competition to run well and rank high on the world stage. I wish good luck to all the other Israeli participants," he added.

Aymaro Alamia (Photo: Maxim Dupliy)

Aymaro Alamia, the athlete who wasn't initially supposed to compete in the championship due to three faster marathon runners ahead of him, but secured the criterion, shared how he received the news and how he prepared himself in a short period. He is filled with excitement as the competitions approach: "I feel very good; the preparation was solid. We did everything to arrive at the World Championship fully ready. We're getting all the support from all directions to ensure peace of mind and to be prepared for the goal."

"Despite being initially an alternate for the World Championship, I continued with my preparations. After the coaches informed me that I wouldn't be participating, I took the gas off my foot to build my next plan. I flew to the training camp in Italy with the team, and then the staff told me that I would indeed compete in the World Championship. I was in shock; it surprised me. But I took it in stride and told myself, 'You're fighting now for the country, not just for yourself.'"

He further stated, "I started working together with my teammates and the staff, mentally preparing myself and pushing my body to handle the load in order to complete everything and be ready. I am prepared and happy that I am going to represent my country with honor and pride."

In the competition, two more participants were supposed to take part. Gashaw Ayele from the Maccabi Tel Aviv team, who met the criteria and was supposed to compete in the championship, had to cancel his participation due to a hamstring injury. Girmaw Amare from Hapoel Athletic Oren Kfar Saba, who also met the criteria and was supposed to be part of the men's marathon team, will not participate due to personal reasons.

Maru Teferi (Photo: Maxim Dupliy)

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