Religious Israeli Girl Aims for 2nd Euro Championship Victory

April 6, 2012  

Bat-El Gatterer, world class Taekwondo champion, is still on the top of her game.

“I didn’t make it to the London Olympics in August, but my goal now is to win in the European Championships next month in England. Last year I took ninth place in the world championships, and my goal now is, of course, to win,” she told Arutz Sheva.

Gatterer, of the town of Kochav Yaakov in the Binyamin region, previously took first place in her weight class in the European Taekwondo championships, and represented Israel at the Beijing Olympics.

Gatterer is unique not only for her exceptional talent, but for the balance her life requires. She manages to prepare for and compete in world championships while maintaining a religious lifestyle.

“From my perspective, there’s never been a conflict between religion and sports, despite the difficulty,” she said. “There are difficulties in observing the Sabbath and kashrut, but I always worked it out. I have never compromised despite the difficulties.”

Among the challenges Gatterer has faced are walking up and down 19 flights of stairs when in a hotel on the Sabbath, and in one case, walking three miles in the snow on the Sabbath during a competition in Germany.

Training is also difficult, she said. “You don’t get to be a champion just like that, it takes a lot of practice,” she noted. However, she said, “There are also a lot of interesting experiences, I travel to a lot of places and see different cultures.”

Gatterer recommends Taekwondo to other religious women. “The goal [in Taekwondo] isn’t to hit your opponents, you learn a lot about yourself, self-confidence, values and honor. It speaks to a lot of religious people,” she explained. Many religious girls have decided to take up Taekwondo thanks to coverage of Gatterer’s story.

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