Abigail Klein Leichman
August 21, 2023

Israeli windsurfer Shahar Tibi, 25, won the gold medal in the women’s iQFoil category at the Allianz Sailing World Championships in The Netherlands on August 19, earning Israel’s first world title at the sailing contest in a decade.

Israeli women nab world windsurfing medals
Women’s windsurfing gold medalist Shahar Tibi at the Sailing World Championships, August 19, 2023. Photo by Sander van der Borch/World Sailing

More than 1,200 sailors from 80 nations competed in the World Championships, which encompassed 10 Olympic sailing disciplines.

Team Israel’s Katy Spychakov, 24, won a silver medal in the same competition, coming in second behind Tibi. Two other Israelis, Tamar Steinberg and Sharon Kantor, placed in the top 10 in the race.

Tibi told reporters after the event that she had no words to describe her excitement at getting to the podium, an aspiration that eluded her last year.

She dedicated her win to Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits, who claimed world titles in 2003, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Korzits currently is battling blood cancer.

Israeli women nab world windsurfing medals
Israel’s Shahar Tibi leading the iQFoil women’s race in The Netherlands. Photo by Sailing Energy/World Sailing

In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that took place belatedly in 2021, Spychakov placed sixth overall in windsurfing, and Tibi placed eighth.

Sailing is one of the most prominent sport fields in Israel, earning Israel its first Olympic gold medal when windsurfer Gal Friedman – who’d won a bronze in 1996 — beat the competition in the Athens Games in 2004. Shahar Zubari won the bronze medal for Israel in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Earlier Saturday, Israel’s Yoav Omar took third place in the men’s windsurfing quarterfinal and finished in sixth place overall.

In July, Israeli sailors Eli Wright and Yuval Brannon won the 49er FX Junior World Championships in Germany.

“These are moments of glory for Israeli sailing,” commented Shai Buber, chairman of the Israel Sailing Association.

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