Israeli runner Blessing Afrifah wins gold at World U20 Championships

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Israeli runner Blessing Afrifah after winning the men's 200m at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia, on August 4, 2022.
JOAQUIN SARMIENTO / AFPIsraeli runner Blessing Afrifah after winning the men's 200m at the Under-20 World Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia, on August 4, 2022.

The 18-year-old is the first Israeli in history to finish the race in under 20 seconds

For the first time in history, an Israeli finished first in a major athletics event at an international competition. 

Israeli sprinter Blessing Afrifah won the gold medal in the 200 meters on Thursday night at the Under-20 World Championships in Cali, Colombia, with a record time of 19.96 seconds. 

The 18-year-old is the first Israeli in history to finish the race in under 20 seconds. 

'Is it real? Can it be? I'm the world champion!" Afrifah yelled after the race, Ynetnews reported.

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Afrifah edged Leslie Tobago of Botswana, who led for most of the race until the Israeli sprinter caught him in the final 50 meters and passed him a few millimeters before the finish line.

"I didn't think I would do so well, but during the run, I realized that I was strong in the picture," Afrifah said after the race.

"I ran against great opponents. In the end, I was tense as I waited for the photo-finish, but I knew I left everything on the track. I dedicate the victory to my family in Tel Aviv, my coach, and all the people of Israel."

He became the second Israeli to win gold at the athletics championships in the youth category, a year after Yonathan Kapitolnik won the high jump.

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