(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel may not be known for its sports prowess, but on Sunday night in Florida, it was a whole different ballgame. Twelve-year-old Yshai Oliel of Ramle achieved a historic win in the International Tennis Championship, also known as the Junior Orange Bowl, in the boys 12-and-under category.
Oliel joined a long line of tennis legends, including Andy Murray, Jimmy Conners, Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles, who have won that tournament in the past. Israeli tennis powerhouse Shahar Pe’er also won the trophy in 2001 at the age of 14.
In the tournament final, Oliel beat Patrick Sydow of Aruba 6-3, 6-1. In the entire tournament he lost only a single set.
“I am so happy and so excited, it hasn’t sunk in yet how big a deal this is. From my point of view, this is just the beginning,” said a glowing Oliel following the tournament.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Oliel, phoning the young tennis player and saying, “You are a true champion. You brought honor to the State of Israel and pride to your parents.”