Friday Feature: Israel goes down under for runner

Friday, July 07, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
Israel needs an “anchor” to weigh them down in the 4x100m men’s relay at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Sweden next month and they are hoping for a boost from down under.

The Jewish state has gone fishing down under with hopes that Michael Budlender, Australia’s fastest Jewish man, will don the blue and white Israeli uniform and carry Israel to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, according to Australian Jewish News.

Budlender completes the team, although whether he will actually hold down the position of anchor (final runner in the relay team) remains to be seen.

At only 23-years-old, the Melbourne resident will cross oceans to join sprinters Tal and Ram Mor, Michael Bar Yehoshua and Eran Levi and train in the Holy Land. Budlender will have his first trial run at Israel’s national championships slated for July 12 to 14 where the relay team must qualify with a dashing time of 39.6 seconds for entrance into the European championships.

Already a citizen of Israel, Budlender is not a novice runner on Israeli soil as he has competed in the Maccabiah Games.

Budlender has said that it would be a great honor for him to compete for Israel.

The Australian athlete was a semi-finalist at the Australian championships earlier this year and won the Victorian Open in 2003.

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