Photo: Badmintonphoto
The Russian who became Israeli
Date: 3/31/2020 9:55 AM
Published by : Rasmus Bech(BEC)

Ksenia Polikarpova did something most people do not: She changed her citizenship and is now the women’s singles star of Israel.

Imagine going to bed as one nationality and the next morning you are a different. The scenario was reality for Israeli Ksenia Polikarpova, who from 2017 onwards has been representing Israel and not Russia, where she was born and raised.

At the 2009 Polikarpova won the women’s doubles bronze medal at the European Juniors (the same year Carolina Marin finished runner-up, Selena Piek/Jacco Arends won the mixed doubles category and Sam Magee won the men’s doubles category alongside Sylvain Grosjean) and in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015 she medaled at the European Championships team events with the Russian team.

Feels like Israeli on court
In 2017 things changed: Polikarpova moved to Israel

- One of the reasons behind my move to Israel is, that I am Jewish and I got had possibility to move. The National Badminton Federation of Russia was not interesting for me like a professional player anymore, and because of moving I also changed sport representing too, but I have two citizenships, Polikarpova said.

- I am Jewish and I am a Russian in Israel. As a sportsman I think that feel that more Israeli now. I am not looking for the Russian flag next to my name anymore.

No retirement plans
Ksenia Polikarpova turned 30 years old on 11 March 2020 but there is currently no plan for calling it a day for the world number 59.

- I feel that still can learn a lot and improve my skills in badminton, but do not know how my body will react. It is also mentally very tough for me stay away from home – that can be decisive factor too, Polikarpova said adding that she does not know if she we will try to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

But one thing she knows: She is ready to share the know-how she has from the sport which she has been playing for more than two decades

- I have already been coaching for nearly nine years and also have master degree as physical educational coach for disable people. I have knowledge and experience which I am ready to share, the Israeli said.

In 2019 Ksenia Polikarpova won her home soil tournament, Hatzor International, in singles and doubles, and she finished runner up in Jamaica International the same year.

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