Legendary pole vaulter Sergey Bubka visited the Knesset on Monday along with the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, the President of the Israeli Athletic Association Doron Kofman, the Association`s General-Secretary Jack Cohen and Israel`s premier pole vaulter Alex Averbukh.
Bubka, an Olympic gold medalist and former world champion, currently serves as the president of Ukraine`s National Olympic Committee.
During a meeting with Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, Bubka said that top athletes ”are a great tool to represent the beautiful and different face of Israel.”
”During my visit to Israel I have met with Alex Averbukh and Michael Kalganov. You certainly have outstanding athletes that can be developed,” he said.
Speaker Edelstein said: ”I am glad that the attitude in Israel towards sports is changing. Today there is more awareness and a much more professional attitude than in the past. When I was present at the stadium and saw Alex Averbukh win a medal in an Israeli uniform at the World Championships, I was moved to the point of tears.”
Edelstein, who has won international competitions in boxing and table tennis, told the visitors that several Knesset members used to be professional athletes. ”Sports must be popular, because only if thousands of young people will be active in sports will we able to discover the future champions of Israel,” Edelstein added.