Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Israeli university grants scholarship to its Beijing Olympics medalist

JERUSALEM, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- An Israeli university has granted a full scholarship to the Jewish state's windsurfer Shahar Zubari in recognition of his accomplishment in Beijing Olympics, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.
The University of Ben-Gurion, Eilat campus, announced the decision on Monday, saying it has given a full scholarship for both a first degree and postgraduate studies to Zubari.
Zubari won the bronze medal of the men's RS:X at the Beijing Olympic Sailing Regatta, Israel's first and only medal at Beijing Olympics.
Zubari, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Monday, officially accepted his scholarship from the president of the university's Eilat campus in an event which attracted the attention of the majority of students.
This honor will only be a small part of a series of formal acknowledgements Eilat, a port city in southern Israel, is providing for the local hero, said The Jerusalem Post.
At the young age of 21, with relative inexperience at his first Olympic Games, Zubari, who was considered one of the Israeli Olympic delegation's best hopes for a medal, felt the pressure of an entire nation urging him to win a medal, as their last hope for podium glory. Needless to say, he succeeded, and all of Israel joined him in celebration.
"It was very difficult work. I'm very happy with the accomplishment," Zubari told Israel's Channel 1 after winning the medal, adding that there was a lot of support from Israel.
A hero of the moment, Zubari leads a relatively average Israeli life at home. He is currently serving his mandatory military duty, stationed on a naval base in Eilat.

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