Hebrew Language Blog

Lunah Chemtai: the Israeli Runner for The Olympic Marathon Posted by on Aug 10, 2021 in Sports

Photo by Free-Photos from Pixabay, CCO

Marathon (מָרָתוֹן) is an Olympic sport (סְפּוֹרְט אוֹלִימְפִּי), and has been since Athens 1896, the first international Olympic Games held in modern history. The marathon event was actually created for these Olympic Games, based upon the popular myth in which Pheidippides ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to carry the message of a Greek victory in the battle of Marathon. The 1896 course revived the mythical track, started in the town of Marathon and finished in Athens. Over the years the standard distance was introduced, the women’s event was added, and the two events were scheduled traditionally in the final days of the Olympics.

The Israeli delegation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the biggest the country has ever assembled. Eighty nine athletes in total. Five of them will run the 42.195 kilometers in the marathon race (מֵרוֹץ). In August 7th, two Israelis will stand among the competitors on the starting line (קַו הַזִּנּוּק) of the women’s marathon event: Maor Tiyouri and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter.

The story of Lonah is amazing. She was born in Kenya and grew up in a small village. She came to Israel for the first time at the age of 20, as a nanny for the children of Kenya’s Ambassador to Israel. In the mornings, when the kids went to school, she would run for pleasure nearby the house. Several years later, in a search for company, she joined a running group (קְבוּצַת רׅיצָה). The group coach noticed her potential, and even though Lonah was dedicated to the Ambassador’s kids she started to compete. With no hand watch or a proper training program (תָּכְנִית אִמּוּנׅים), she did well in the competitions.

When her work contract ended, Lonah had to move back to Kenya. She was accompanied by her new Israeli trainer Dan, with whom she had fallen in love. In Kenya, they were focused on training. Lunah joined a national running team, and got very motivated. After they got married they returned to Israel, and soon Lunah started to have success. She won the competitions (תַּחֲרוּיּוֹת), broke records, filling her rented apartment with trophies and medals (מֵדַלְיוֹת).

Lunah competed in the Rio 2016 Olympics Marathon, but left the race at the 33rd kilometer, due to a shoulder problem. She took care of the injury (פְּצִיעָה) and got back to training and competition. She did well since then, including first place (מָקוֹם רִאשׁוֹן) in the Tokyo Marathon of 2020.

Watch Lunah and her family prepare for the Tokyo Olympics:



Text vocabulary

Marathon = מָרָתוֹן

Olympic sport = סְפּוֹרְט אוֹלִימְפִּי

Race = מֵרוֹץ

Starting line = קַו הַזִּנּוּק

Running group = קְבוּצַת רׅיצָה

Training program = תָּכְנִית אִמּוּנׅים

Competition = תַּחֲרוּת

Medal = מֶדַלְיָה

Injury = פְּצִיעָה

First place = מָקוֹם רִאשׁוֹן


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