Israel was the only country to win more than one gold medal at the Tashkent Judo Grand Prix 2017 in Uzbekistan.
Competing on behalf of Israel, judokas Ori Sasson (heavyweight), Sagi Muki (lightweight) and Betina Temelkova (half-lightweight) won first place in their respective weight classes at the Tashkent Judo Grand Prix 2017.
“Ori underwent a long period of rehabilitation and as part of the regiment I built for him I let him rest and recover from the competition in Rio,” said the men’s team coach and Olympic bronze medalist Oren Smadja. “Today I know that this decision led Sagi Muki and Ori Sasson to stay in the game and continue for another Olympic term,” he added.
The athletic competition was sponsored by the International Judo Federation on October 6-8 in Uzbekistan. No other country in the competition garnered more than one gold medal at the event.
Sasson, 27, is a national celebrity after bringing home a bronze medal from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Muki, 25, finished fifth at Rio and recently returned to competition after recovering from a serious injury.
In addition to the gold medalists, Israeli judoka Timna Nelson-Levy won a silver medal and Yarden Mayersohn won a bronze. Temelkova previously competed for her native Bulgaria, but joined the Israeli national judo team this year and is seeking Israeli citizenship.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev has already asked Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to grant the judoka citizenship. “I will continue my efforts until she receives Israeli citizenship, so that she can continue to represent us with honor in the European Championship next year in Israel,” promised Regev.
[Photo: Renaud Camus/ Flickr]