Rooting for underdogs!
Editorial by Allon Sinai published in The Jerusalem Post (inspired, I assume, by Daniel Samohin's historic gold medal at the World Junior Championships last week and Alexei Bychenko's silver at 2016 Europeans): http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Sp...0Mzc3Q0NCRDNDQUY0NTY3NEM1QUE5QTcyMkJDOEI5NUY=
Israel’s figure skaters are registering historic accomplishments in international competitions and the sport is blossoming at the youth level following the opening of the “Ice Peaks” ice rink in Holon three years ago. But the growth has been impeded by lack of funding and insufficient facilities in the country, with [Boris] Chait personally paying for many of the expenses of Israel’s ice skaters.
Chait said he always gets asked why Israel’s figure skaters practice overseas, but on the other hand the Ice Skating Federation receives little to no help in building facilities.
“On the one hand it is great people win and get results but on the other hand we are creating a monster,” he noted. “A good monster, but it needs to be fed. We have done it in a partisan way until now but this is not professional.
“The biggest problem is that they say ‘you come with the results and then we will try to support you somehow’,” he added. “But you need to build the pyramid from the bottom not the top. They aren’t interested in building facilities and there is no more room in the rink. We have run out of ice time.”
Chait said the federation has gone from 20 kids training regularly to over 350 since the opening of the rink in Holon, but that it could do so much more if it were given the funds.
“The ministers of sport are changing and the office holders are changing but the idea of sport and developing sport has not changed,” he said.
“Sport is more than politics. Our athletes are ambassadors. Samohin with the Israeli flag showed them that we are here to stay but nobody understands it.”
Chait has helped to take Israeli figure skating to a new level, but continued growth depends on increased funding from the establishment, which is not forthcoming.