NETANYA, Israel, March 7. THE Middle East continues its progression to becoming a major mecca for international competitions with the announcement that Israel will be the host of next year’s European Short Course Championships.
The meet, scheduled for January 2015, will be the first major international swimming competition to be held in the country outside of the Maccabiah Games, a multi-sport event held every four years for Jewish athletes. The European championships will be staged at the Wingate Institute’s new 50-meter pool, which was christened with the Israeli nationals, where more than a dozen national records fell in the three-day meet.
The pool is following the new trend of constructing a tank that is 3 meters deep, and could set the stage for future meets in the city located on the Mediterranean Sea about 60 miles northwest of Jerusalem.
“For us this is like hosting the Olympics,” said Noam Zwi, President of the Israeli Swimming Association.
Gal Nevo could be one of the top Israeli stars of next year’s European championships. The former standout at Georgia Tech won a silver at last December’s short course Europeans in the 400 IM and was in the championship final of the 100 IM and 200 IM.
Israel’s hosting of the short course European championships will mark just the second time in the 18 years of the meet that a Middle Eastern country will be the site of the championships. Istanbul, Turkey, hosted the meet in 2009.