IDF soldier qualifies for the Olympics

An IDF (Zahal) soldier breaks swimming records and qualifies for the 2012 London Olympics

Date: 08/08/2011, 12:50 PM     Author: IAF Website

A soldier at the IAF base Sde Dov will compete at the 2012 London Olympics. The 19 year old swimmer, Pvt. Ya’akov Tomarkin advanced to the semi-finals at the World Aquatics Championship in Shanghai last week. He improved the Israeli record for the 200-meter backstroke, with a score 78 milliseconds faster, qualifying him for the upcoming Olympic Games. Just a few days later, Pvt. Tomarkin won the Israel Swimming Championship.

In between the two record breaking competitions, Pvt. Tomarkin goes to his IAF administration base. “My commander fully supports me and allows me to practice as necessary,” he says, “he understands how important this is to me.”

Pvt. Tomarkin started swimming at the age of six and today he trains ten times a week. He went to the Boarding School for Gifted Athletes at the Wingate Institute. After high school, Pvt. Tomarkin was offered either serving as a distinguished athlete enabling him to continue training or postponing his military service and studying abroad.

“I preferred completing a full service just like everyone else,” explains the swimmer, “London will be a great experience in preparation of the future. It was definitely a relief qualifying for the Olympics, though I wasn’t surprised. I’m still under a lot of competitive tension, but maybe when the new season begins I will realize that I’m an Olympic swimmer.”