Mixed judo team wins bronze, Israel’s second medal at the Tokyo Olympics
After the 4: 1 victory over the Russian team with the decisive fight won by Timna Nelson-Levy
The team achieved a victory over their Russian opponents in the consolation round of an event that is contested for the first time this year.
In the battle for bronze, Israeli judoka Gili Sharir lost to Madina Taimazova, giving the Russians a 1: 0 lead.
However, Sagi Muki faced Mikhail Igolnikov, bringing the Israelis to the 1: 1 level.
Next up was Raz Hershko, who beat Aleksandra Babintseva to lead the Israelis 2: 1 before Peter Paltchik took the score to 3: 1.
A final victory for Timna Nelson-Levy gave Israel a 4: 1 victory and a place on the podium.
After a week of losses for Israel’s judokas, Paltchik said the team had finally come together on Saturday.
To achieve this victory, the Israeli judo team beat Brazil 4: 2 in the play-offs on Saturday.
Tohar Butbul won his first match in the round before Sharir lost to his opponent. A Li Kochman win was followed shortly after a Hershko loss, leaving the score at 2: 2.
Paltchik then brought the score to 3: 2 before Nelson-Levy won the decisive fight, with the final score 4: 2 in Israel’s favor.
Before that, Israel lost 4-3 to France in the quarterfinals after initially taking a strong 3-1 lead. France struggled to level the scores 3-3 before winning the final fight. The French team then beat Japan to take the gold.
In the previous knockout round of 16, Israel defeated Italy 4-3 – Sharir won two bouts, while Hershko and Paltchik also won. Sharir’s victory over individual bronze medalist Maria Centracchio was a tiebreaker in the competition.
“Everyone had a week that was very disappointing on a personal level, but something about this special day led everyone to give a little more for the team, and that is what made the difference,” he said of the victory. “We were praised too early.”
Israel’s podium and Paltchik’s comment came just days after anonymous officials from Israel’s delegation to the Tokyo Olympics voiced strong criticism of the country’s judo team.
“This is a huge failure. Conclusions must be drawn about how this collapse happened at the Olympics, ”an unidentified delegation official said on the Ynet news site on Thursday.
“There is something systematic here, it is not a unique failure, and all the judokas lost to inferior rivals,” the official said.
Earlier in the week, Israel’s Olympic Committee said in a statement that “summaries and conclusions will only be drawn at the end of the games when we return to Israel.”
Eleven medals were awarded to the mixed team, including judoka who did not compete but who were registered as team members on Saturday morning.
Team member Gili Cohen, who was not registered and also did not compete on Saturday, did not win a medal despite appeals from Israeli officials.
Meanwhile, Israeli Yoav Cohen finished first in the men’s RS: X Windsurfing medal race on Saturday, but it was not enough to place him on the podium, with the Israeli in fourth place overall.