Zalcberg Qualifies for Olympics

TABLE tennis champion David Zalcberg travels to Beijing in August for his second consecutive Olympic Games.  

While Beijing will be Zalcberg’s second Olympics after competing in Athens in 2004, it is the first time he has qualified for the team as a singles player.

With only three spots available this time around -– as opposed to four for Athens -– there is no dedicated doubles team, which made it harder for Zalcberg, who went to the 2004 games on the back of his doubles form.

“This is much bigger than Athens for me. To go to an Olympics where table tennis is one of the premiere events is just unbelievable,” he said.

“I’ve always felt like I wanted to qualify in singles and this time round I was able to do that, even if it was at the end of my career that I did it.”

And it was all on the line for Zalcberg, who this week confirmed that Beijing would be his last tournament in Australian colours.

“I knew this was it, at my age there are no second chances when something’s four years apart,” he said.

“There was no added pressure, but it was just really important to me. When I made it I was shaking – it was just unbelievable.”

Arik Ze’evi

Israeli Arik Ze'evi qualified for the Beijing Olympics after winning the under 100 kilogram for judoka competition at the World Cup event in Prague.

Ze'evi, a bronze medallist from the Athens Games, won four of his five fights with an ippon (ippon is a Judo technique used to score higher points), and proved that he's hitting form just in time for this summer's Olympics in China.

The 31-year-old Israeli beat defending Olympic champion Keiji Suzuki in the quarterfinal and claimed the gold medal with two more ippons in the semifinal and final against Levan Zhorzholiani and Yauhen Biadulin respectively (USSR).

Arik Ze'evi took up judo because his two older brothers competed in the sport. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Arik Ze'evi was a member of the Israeli judo team.
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Last updated  2009/10/27 12:16:06 AEDTHits  881