Yuval Freilich took the Gold Medal competing against the world’s best in the competition held in Dusseldorf, Germany. Freilich is the first Israeli ever to win a European championship in fencing.
“Everything connected. It just all came together. Really an incredible feeling,” he said in an interview posted by the European Fencing Confederation on Facebook.
The 24-year-old Israeli fencer was ranked only 40th in the world, yet was able to beat the 13th ranked Italian in the competition’s finals.
Freilich grew up in Neve Daniel, an Israeli settlement in Gush Etzion, a cluster of communities nestled among the Judean mountains south of Jerusalem and west of Bethlehem. Fencing since age 5, Freilich has previously won gold medals in teen championships. As a youngster, he also fought and won a court case allowing him not to have to compete on the Jewish Sabbath.
“Thanks to everyone who supports and encourages me allowing me to accomplish this victory. I’ll be back with you soon (home in Israel),” the champ said in the interview in Hebrew.