Virtually meet Bat-El Gatterer, the first ever Orthodox Jewish Female Olympian in the history of the world and women's 2010 European featherweight champion.
"Once, in Germany, I walked three hours in the snow [on Shabbos],” Gatterer recalled. “And when I get to the competition, I was like, how you say, "a snowman." And two minutes after I get there, they called me to the fight....[laughs]...But it's OK. I win."
Gatterer was born and raised in Kokhav Ya’akov, a settlement in Israel perched on a hill top in the West Bank approximately 20 minutes from Jerusalem where she did her training in the sport. She trained with the Ahi Yehuda taekwondo club in Jerusalem and also the Wingate Institute near Netanya. After finishing her religious schooling, she served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years.
Starting fighting classes at age 9, Gatterer specifically competed in taekwondo, starting to practice the sport more intensely beginning at age 12. The sport was chosen because it was the only available after school activity that was compatible with her mother’s work schedule at the time.
Gatterer has competed and won medals in the Austrian Open, the Dutch Open, German Open, Croatian Open, Trelleborg Open, Belgian and Greek Opens, and competed in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China on behalf of her native country of Israel, as well as having other athletic successes in various other competitions.
"I was a little surprised to have qualified,” Gatterer said upon being accepted to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games. “It is a great achievement and it is the dream of every sportsman, but people believed in me."
Written by Erin Parfet