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Double-edged foil
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Fassberg, Teddy
Date: Jun 13, 2008
Start Page: 46
Section: Features
Abstract (Document Summary)

"He plowed the soil, he cultivated the land," [Delila Hatuel] says admiringly of her father, Haim, who 40 years ago spawned a national fencing dynasty that over the years has flowered and branched out. Haim's younger brother Yitzhak competed in the 1984 Olympic Games, while his sister Lydia, a 16-time national champion, represented Israel in three Olympic Games. Now, his daughter Delila, ranked 11th in the world, is preparing for this summer's Olympics in Beijing.

Two hundred years after the wall fencing in the city fended off Napoleon's siege, it's quite appropriate that a fencing dynasty has sprouted in Acre. Its name derived from the Latin word for defense, fencing is one of the four oldest Olympic sports. For Haim Hatuel, it was a natural transition. Ambling through a fair offering employment to those recently released from the IDF, he caught the eye of a fencing coach. Having dabbled in boxing and acrobatics in Morocco, where he was born before coming here with his family in the 1960s, he was a natural, as was the rest of his family. But while they excelled in competition, he never got a chance to compete abroad. Coaching was his calling, and Acre's mayor recognized as much when he recently built a gym, the Olympic Fencing Center, where Haim, Lydia and Delila train children - Jewish and Arab, sabras and new immigrants - daily.

"What am I doing here?" she asked herself. After three years of fun and games, having recently lost her boyfriend followed by her job, sports were a reassuring reminder of the past, "something to latch on to." Next came pangs of regret, remorse over the talent she squandered, the years of work her father had put in, gone to waste. She cried herself to sleep, thinking, "What have I done? I should be there. What was I thinking? Eilat is a waste of time. I'm a nothing, I could do something with my life."

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