windsurfing - Ziv Levanon - September 21 2011
Lee Korsitz celebrating winning the silver medal at the European Championships. Photo by Ziv Levanon
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Amid the controversy surrounding the battle between windsurfers Nimrod Mashiah and Shahar Zubari, who are fighting for one spot on the Israeli team to the 2012 London Olympiad, European silver medalist Lee Korsitz was happy enough to thank everyone who helped her - including the sea itself.

"Many people deserve credit for my success," said the 27 year old, in a reception held in her honor by the Olympic Committee of Israel. "My parents, who tolerated my difficult moods, my club and [windsurfing association chairman] Yehuda Ma'ayan who helped me a lot."

"All my hard work with [head coach] Gur Steinberg was completely different this time," said Korsitz. "He understands and helps me. I'm different and I do things in a different way, but everyone understood that I need to do it this way for my soul. And a last thanks must go to the sea, that I love dearly and am so connected to. The peace and tranquillity is always there."

Korsitz received NIS 35,000 for her achievement in the European Championships. Olympic Committee Chairman Zvi Varshaviak said: "We're glad to sit here and hand out these checks. We have high expectations from our windsurfers. I'm not a bit surprised with Lee's success, as I've known her for many years, with all her ups and downs."

Ma'ayan was very precise about his protege's ambitions: "We've won many Olympic medals in the past 20 years, and according to my plans she should return from London with a medal."

As for the Mashiah-Zubari controversy, Korsitz did not feign diplomacy but refused to condemn Mashiah's tactics, that ultimately might help him clinch the spot on the London team but effectively ruined Zubari's chance to win a European medal: "It's very important for me that the public follow what happens with our windsurfers. Its good that Mashiah and Zubari are in the headlines. A lot of people don't know what happened there, and can't see our perspective as athletes. All they know is that Mashiah purposely undermined Zubari."

Korsitz revealed that the gold medalist at the championships, Sofia Klepacka of Poland, is one of her best friends, and added: "It was a great moment, sitting there with the flags of Israel and Poland on a boat, drinking a bit of ouzo."

Varshaviak added: "I always claimed that wherever there's a hole in the ground - Lee might just fall in one side and come out the other. But we love her exactly as she is. She has definitely matured. It's been two very difficult weeks for Israeli sports and at this point in time we have to give Lee credit for changing the mood."