MANSFIELD, Pa. (WETM) – Mansfield University baseball player Assaf Lowengart is back on campus after playing for Team Israel in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Lowengart came off the bench and earned a walk for Team Israel during the tournament and played several innings in the field.
During his first at-bat he admitted he hadn’t played in a while due to the training and travel.
“First pitch came in and I was like, ‘that’s kinda fast!’ But then again, that was just me being anxious and all of that. Then the at-bat started going and I was fine. Got a walk out of it so it was pretty cool.”
After multiple COVID-19 tests before and after arriving in Tokyo, Lowengart says athletes were limited to staying within the Olympic Village. Athletes could only travel to their own games and practices, but were able to watch all of the other competitions on TV. In the dining hall, Olympians had to eat between plastic barriers.
While the baseball team did not win a medal, Lowengart was proud of the Israeli delegation for being one of the largest at the event and for winning medals in Tae-kwon-do and judo.
“I think that’s the best deligation results we’ve ever had… I think since (the Munich Massacre), how we’ve come so far and became, I wouldn’t say a powerhouse, but we’re on the map.”
Lowengart shared a conversation he had with a Palestinian woman who worked with the Olympic committee and how they discussed the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
“Here I am in Tokyo and only now I talk to a girl from Bethlehem who we never talk to, and I had a conversation with her, very civil conversation about everything I wanted and she didn’t get offended, I didn’t get offended and we’re just talking as two people from the same area.”
Lowengart plans to play for Mansfield University again this spring and will decide whether he will pursue a Master’s Degree or weigh his professional baseball options.