|Four months after knee surgery, world medalist Alexander Shatilov won the Israeli Open Championships Saturday night in Tel Aviv.
World championships bronze medalist Alexander Shatilov defended his national title, winning the Israeli Open Championships Saturday night at the Hadar Yosef arena in Tel Aviv.
Shatilov scored 87.500 to defeat guest competitors — and Olympic medalists — Anton Fokin of Uzbekistan (86.150) and Filip Ude of Croatia (83.500). At the 2008 Olympics, Fokin won the bronze medal on parallel bars and Ude won the silver on pommel horse.
The 23-year-old Shatilov injured his knee at the Paris World Cup in April, and immediately underwent surgery to repair the meniscus. He began training with Russian acrobatics coach Valentin Potapenko, an specialist brought in by the Israeli Gymnastics Association to help Shatilov return to top form on tumbling.
Shatilov's personal coach, Sergei Vaysburg, told the Israeli media that Shatilov hopes to be 100 percent for October's world championships in Rotterdam. But their main goal, Vaysburg said, is to be ready to win the floor title at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo in order to be assured of qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
A native of Uzbekistan, Shatilov is Israel's most successful gymnast in history and Israel's Athlete of the Year in 2009. He was a finalist on floor exercise at the 2008 Olympic Games, and won the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships in London. He has won multiple World Cup medals on floor, including the gold at the 2008 Glasgow Grand Prix.