Israeli Boy Wins International Tennis Championship

December 24, 2012  

Israel may not be known for its sports prowess, but on Sunday night in Florida, it was a whole different ball game. Twelve-year-old Yshai Oliel of Ramle served his country with a historic achievement by winning the International Tennis Championship, also known as the Junior Orange Bowl, in the boys 12 and under category.

In this, Oliel joined a long line of tennis legends, including Andy Murray, Jimmy Conners, Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles, who have won the tournament in the past. Israeli tennis powerhouse Shahar Pe’er also won the trophy in 2001 at the age of 14.

In the tournament final, Oliel beat Patrick Sydow of Aruba 6-3, 6-1. In the entire tournament he lost only a single set. In the first round of the tournament, the young Israeli from Ramle clobbered Juan Egas of Honduras 6-0, 6-0. Next, he beat Danny Wu of Canada 6-0, 6-1.

In the 1/16th finals, Oliel slammed Anthony Popyrin of Australia 6-1, 6-0, and in the 1/8th finals he bested Brian Shi of the U.S., 6-2, 6-4.

In the quarter finals, Oliel went up against the American Jenson Brooksby and beat him 6-2, 6-1. In the semifinal, the young sabra scored yet another victory, this time over Nicolas Mejia of Colombia, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1.

“I am so happy and so excited, it hasn’t sunk in yet how big a deal this is. From my point of view, this is just the beginning,” said a glowing Oliel following the tournament.

“I am very happy and proud of Yshai,” said his beaming coach, Jan Pochter. “This is a long process that we began eight years ago and I am happy it has come to fruition. We hope there will be many more such victories.”

Among those congratulating Oliel were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who phoned the young tennis player and said, “You are a true champion. You brought honor to the State of Israel and pride to your parents.”

“Congratulations as well to the Ramle Tennis Club which is headed by Tiran Bokovza, who found and cultivated Yshai,” said Israel Tennis Federation head Assi Tuchmayer. “He proved that champions can even sprout in Israel’s periphery. Yshai has been an Israeli ambassador to the entire world for several years now. We wish him success in the future and many more titles.”

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