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Udi Gal, who with Gadi Klieger came in 13th place in the men's 470 class double-handed dinghy sailing event at the Athens Olympics, was selected yesterday as chair of the Israel Olympic Committee's athletes section. Fencer Lydia Hatoel Zuckerman and wrestling coach Gotcha Tsitsiashvili, who retired from the ring after Athens, also were appointed to the committee, while swimmer Mickey Halika was chosen acting chair.

The meeting was marred by controversy as kayaker Lior Carmi and swimmer Yoav Bruck walked out in protest. Bruck, who represents Israel in the European Athletes section, said that he left because he couldn't accept the way the election was carried out.

Gal, meanwhile, was asked yesterday by Athens gold medalist Gal Fridman to become part of his coaching team. Still an active competitive sailor, Gal has not decided on his future plans, but said he is considering helping Fridman prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Fridman confirmed that he has asked Gal to join his team, but said that his first priority should be his own sailing. Fridman added that if Gal decides to retire as a competitive sailor, he would be happy for him to join forces with his American coach Mike Gebhardt. Fridman added that Gal's help would be especially valuable, since Gebhardt is unable to be in Israel all of the time.