IG kicks off its annual holiday series with Israel's Eyal Glazer, who saw success in 2014 as a bronze medalist at the Junior European championships in Sofia. Pictured: Eyal (right) with still rings medalists Brinn Bevan (Great Britain) and Vinzenz Höck (Austria) at the 201 Junior European championships.
IG kicks off its annual holiday series with Israel's Eyal Glazer, who saw success in 2014 as a bronze medalist at the Junior European championships in Sofia.
Israeli gymnast Eyal Glazer told IG that his bronze medal-winning rings performance at this spring's Junior European championships is among three highlights of his successful competition year.
"2014 was a very successful year for me and I can think of three meaningful moments," he said. "The first two were in Sofia, Bulgaria, during the junior European championships. First was our team's achievement. We won sixth place in the team competition. Two years ago we were 21st and in Sofia we were hoping to get into the first 10 teams, so this really exceeded our expectations. It is the highest place a team from Israel ever got in gymnastics. Second is my personal achievement. I got into three finals: all-around, pommel horse and rings. In rings I won the bronze medal, also the first time for an Israeli junior (male) gymnast. It was very exciting to stand on the podium and get the medal."
Glazer said competing at this fall's world championships was his third most meaningful experience of 2014.
"I had a good competition in Nanning," he said. "I managed to perform all my routines without big mistakes, I was satisfied with the scores I got and also set a personal all-around record. I had only a short period to prepare my routines for the senior level after Bulgaria, and I was pleased with the results."
Glazer said Israel's potential for future team success is strong, despite its limited success in Nanning.
"The Israeli federation built a new senior team for Nanning, mostly based on young gymnasts who had just moved into senior level, like me," he said. "Michael Sorokin, Yair Shechter, Moran Yanuka and I joined Israel's top gymnast Alexander Shatilov and European vault finalist Andrey Medvedev. We were hoping to make it to the top 24 teams, in order to get the criteria for Glasgow (worlds) next year. Unfortunately we did not succeed and got 30th place."
Glazer said that, although only three Israeli gymnasts will therefore be able to compete at next fall's worlds in Glasgow, the team is optimistic.
"We still have a lot of progress to make, but it is only the beginning for us and I am convinced that we will succeed the future," he said.
Glazer said the international experience he acquired in 2014 will benefit him in competitions ahead.
"It was my first time to compete in European finals and also the first time I participated in senior competitions," he said. "I feel that now I know better how to prepare myself for a competition and how to function in real time."
For 2015, Glazer has three main goals: raise his difficulty level on all events, especially on vault; make the all-around final at Europeans in Montpellier, France; and be among the three Israelis to compete at worlds in Glasgow.
Glazer's coming year will also include service in the military, which he joined two weeks ago.
"It is obligatory in Israel to serve in the army for three years," he said. "I was acknowledged as an excellent sportsman, which means I'll be able to continue my training. I hope everything will work out and I'll be able to combine my military service and my progress as a gymnast."
Glazer said he looks forward to Hanukkah, the eight-day festival that began Tuesday, although he will be away from home.
"Usually Hanukkah is a very family-like holiday," he said. "We light candles, eat traditional food and sing many songs. This year, unfortunately I will not be with my family because it is my turn to stay in my military base for the weekend. It will certainly be a different experience and I hope it will be nice."
Glazer said 2015 should launch him closer to the ultimate objective.
"In general I plan to continue in the same direction, but hope to improve and to establish my position as a leading senior gymnast in Israel," he told IG. "I aspire to take this year as a 'springboard' and as another step in my journey towards my final goal, to participate in the Olympic Games."