|World bronze medalist Alexander Shatilov told IG that being named Israel's Male Athlete of the Year for 2009 gives him more motivation for competitions in 2010.
Alexander Shatilov told IG that being named Israel's Male Athlete of the Year for 2009 gives him a higher profile and more motivation for competitions in 2010.
"It's the first time a gymnast won the prize, and it was really nice that I personally received it," said Shatilov, who at last fall's world championships in London became the first Israeli gymnast to win a world medal when he placed third on floor exercise. "I think it will bring more attention to me, and therefore I will need to try to perform even better than in 2009."
Shatilov said he learned that he won the award while training in Belarus a week before the ceremony. He attended the ceremony, which was held at Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan last December. Guests included the president of the Olympic Committee of Israel, the president of the Israel Gymnastics Federation, Israel's Minister of Sports and many athletes.
The Uzbekistan-born Shatilov praised his coach, Ukrainian native Sergei Weisburg, who was named Israel's Coach of the Year.
"I can say that, first of all, he is a good person," Shatilov said. "He is understanding and a really good specialist in gymnastics. I think that it's very fortunate that we met in Israel and began to work together."
Shatilov said he now busy preparing for the French International (a World Cup meet, April 10-11 in Paris) and the European Championships that will take place April 21-25 in Birmingham.
"I am learning new elements — not only on floor, but on all the events," he told IG. "I really want to perfect new combinations. If everything works out, I will be happy!
Read "Aiming High," a profile on Shatilov, in the January/February 2009 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues or subscribe to IG magazine, click here.