With all the commotion surrounding the upcoming elections, perhaps it is time to show some of the more beautiful and promising aspects of Israel, ones that shed a bright light on the magnificence and great potential that some of its future generation hold.
Omer Touchmair, fifteen years old, is one of them.
Omer, who I believe will become a household name one day, is a tennis player. He has been playing tennis since the age of seven.
It started as a pastime. One of his friends joined a tennis club. He convinced Omer to come along. Within five months, Omer mastered the game better than his friend and the other members of his team.
Upon the advice of his coach, Omer moved to an older team. That was, however, a short lived move. Soon thereafter, he became part of a different team which raised him into another league altogether. His new coach was Shlomo Tsoref, one of Israel’s foremost coaches credited with training two of Israel’s most famous Tennis players ever, Amos Mansdorf and Gilad Bloom.
In order to improve his skills even further, Omer has been travelling to Austria, more precisely the Vienna area, since the age of eleven. There, he trains with Gunther Bresnik, a valued and highly respected coach. Among some of his trainees was the world tennis Champion, Roger Federer. Initially, Omer flew to Austria twice a year. Lately, however, in the last couple of years, he has been travelling there at a rate of once a month for one week.
Omer’s weekly routine is not easy. As a young man, he does not have the undemanding life that many of his fellow Israeli teenagers share.
Omer’s busy and disciplined training routine starts early in the morning. For four (soon to be five) days a week, he trains before school. Every day, after school, he trains and practices for another two hours. Additionally, Omer engages in strength training twice a week and cardio training once a week.
Recently, Omer has also been under the strict guidance of a dietician, another factor that differentiates him from other young people his age.
“What drives you to work so hard and hold such a regimented routine?” I asked him when we spoke.
“Let me quote my favorite tennis player, Roger Federer,” he said in response, “’When you do something best in life, you don’t really want to give that up – and for me it’s tennis.’”
And tennis is definitely something Omer does very well. He intends to pursue his current dream, to play one day in Wimbledon as part of a junior team.
But it is not only tennis that Omer is excellent at. Despite his stressful and demanding training routine, Omer is also an excellent student. He has joined a special study program that accommodates his schedule and frequent absences. His grades are outstanding and he keeps a perfect balance between his academic and career aspirations
It is this combination of determination, talent and brilliant mind that joined together to make Omer one of the most promising tennis players in Israel. Under his mastership, those ordinary tennis balls become nothing short of Yellow Balls of Fire!