‏World’s new acrobatic gymnastics champion comes from Samaria

March 8, 2022 by TPS
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Jonathan Friedman, 19, from the community of Salit in Samaria, won the mixed pairs competition at the 12th Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) Acrobatic Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Baku, Azerbaijan, with his teammate Amy Refaeli.

Jonathan Freidman and Amy Refaeli after their win. (Noya Gindis)

Friedman and Refaeli grabbed the gold at the mixed pairs in the 13-19 age category on Sunday night, with a score of 29.400.

Jonathan currently serves as an IDF soldier with an outstanding athlete status, meaning he can continue to train professionally while serving. He is the eldest of three brothers who are engaged in professional sports. Liat Friedman, Jonathan’s mother, said that “we are proud of him and happy that all his hard work is bearing fruit. He’s a good son, a good brother, a good friend. He finished twelfth grade with honours, despite the time he spent training.”

Head of the Samaria Council Yossi Dagan has awarded Jonathan with an outstanding athlete scholarship several times. In honour of his latest achievement, it was decided to award him another scholarship.

Yonatan has been training since he was 13 years old, and behind him is a series of wins and medals. He has won the European Champion title three times, in 2018 he won a silver medal at the Youth Olympics when he was 15, and last year he won the silver at the world championships.

Jonathan and Amy have been competing together as a team for four consecutive years and won the title of Israeli Champions for 2022, their fourth time.

Dagan congratulated Yonatan after his victory and told him that he has “brought lots of pride to the State of Israel and Samaria. We are proud of your tremendous achievement. We will continue to put Samaria at the center of the map of the State of Israel in all areas – both in construction, education, volunteering and certainly in sports. We invite all Samaria youth to dream, grow and succeed. The sky is the limit!”

Six countries advanced to the finals of the competition: Israel, Russia, Georgia, Portugal, the United States and Bulgaria.

Gymnasts from Portugal Luis Ferreira and Beatriz Mota won a silver medal and athletes Artemy Petrovsky and Alina Vasilevskaya of Russia won the bronze.


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