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Roth-Shachamorov, Esther


ROTH-SHACHAMOROV, ESTHER (1952– ), Israeli track and field star. Roth was born in Tel Aviv and became the first Israeli athlete to reach an Olympic final. By the ninth grade she had already broken the Israeli hurdles record. At the 1970 Asian Games she won gold medals in the 100m hurdles and pentathlon and silver in the long jump. In 1971 she was sports-woman of the year in Israel and Asia. In 1972 she took part in the Olympic Games in Munich. After she reached the 100m semifinals, her coach, Amitzur Shapira, predicted she would win a medal, but the dream was shattered when he and another 10 Israeli sportsmen were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Recovering from the tragedy she returned to competition a year later, winning three gold medals at the Ninth Maccabiah Games in 1973 though three months pregnant. Though recovering from a Caesarian delivery she won three more gold medals at the 1974 Asian Games, this time in the 200m dash, the 100m hurdles, and the 100m sprint. In 1976, at the Montreal Olympics, she reached the finals in the 100m hurdles, finishing sixth. This was her last major competition, as Israel was expelled from the Asian Federation for political reasons and then joined the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Retiring officially in 1980, she became a track and field coach. In 1999 she was awarded the Israel Prize for her contribution to sports.

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

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