A KENYAN woman brought joy to Israel on Wednesday night while parts of the Jewish state were under rocket attack from Gaza.
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter became the first Israeli to win a track gold medal at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin.
The former nanny was triumphant in the women’s 10,000 metres at the Olympic Stadium — leading the field from the 6,000m point.
Salpeter moved to Tel Aviv in 2009 from Kenya to work as a nanny for Kenya’s ambassador to Israel.
In 2016, she married her coach, Dan Salpeter, and gained Israeli citizenship.
She completed the race in 31:43.29 seconds, nine seconds ahead of Susan Krumins, of the Netherlands, who collapsed as she crossed the line — bizarrely receiving medical treatment from games’ mascot Berlino.
After crossing the finishing line, a sobbing Salpeter draped herself in the Israeli flag.
“I still don’t believe it,” Salpeter said. “I’m really happy. I dreamed of this, but I can’t believe it happened.
“My plan was to win, nothing else,”
Salpeter will receive a grant of £9,000 from Israeli sports authorities for her win.
Internationally, she’s competed in the marathon and half marathon for Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel’s triple-jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko will take part in today’s final after her 14.41m jump on her final attempt.
The 28-year-old, who won silver at the 2016 Euros, progressed with the second longest jump of the qualifiers.
“It was by far my toughest early competition,” said Minenko. “The heat was unbearable, the technical failure that negated my second jump jolted me a bit, and I knew that in the third jump I had to really rise to the occasion.
“I set the result of my year now and I hope to improve it in the final.”
But it wasn’t all good news for Israel as sprinter Donald Sanford failed to qualify for today’s 400m final.