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Dhaka Tribune

Israeli swimmer booed at world swim championships

Israel's retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed at least 28,985 people, mostly women and children

Update : 20 Feb 2024, 08:06 PM

Israeli Anastasia Gorbenko shrugged off boos from the crowd at the world swimming championships in Doha Sunday.

Gorbenko took silver in the 400m freestyle but the crowd in Qatar whistled when she went up to collect her medal, and before in the post-race poolside interview.

"It's not the first time, I've been here a week," she commented.

"I've heard all these noises but I'm with ear plugs, I'm in my zone.

"I'm here to do what I love to do, which is sport, I'm here to represent my country.

"It's not the first or the last time. At the end of the day I'm here to swim, that's what I'm doing best."

She added: "Whoever doesn't like it it's not my problem, we're here to do sport."

She said she had no misgivings about going up to collect her medal, despite the hostile reception.

"I worked hard for it, I deserve to be on the podium, there's no way I'd miss it just because of some little kids.

"I'm proud to be here, I'm proud to be an Israeli and represent my country here."

She says she has felt totally safe during her stay in Qatar.

"We have a lot of security around us at all times, both Israeli and Qatari, so safety is the first thing that they consider before coming here."

"It's just sport. I think sports and politics should be separated. But it does effect me emotionally, it's been a long week for me, I expected myself to do better than I did.

"So to be able to stand on the podium at the end of the week means a lot to me as an athlete and gives me a confidence boost in this Olympic year."

She was winning the first medal for Israel at the championships with her country involved in a war that has already lasted four months with Hamas.

The Gaza war began with Hamas' October 7 attack which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an Agence France Presse tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took about 250 hostages, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, including 30 who are presumed dead, according to Israeli figures.

Israel's retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza have killed at least 28,985 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry.

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