Israeli Judokas land 1 silver medal, 2 bronze at European Championships

Israeli judokas snagged a silver medal and two bronze medals at the European Championships on Friday and Saturday.

Tohar Butbul won a silver medal after making it to the final and losing his final bout in the men’s under-73kg category to Akil Gjakova of Kosovo.

Shortly afterward, Sagi Muki defeated Bulgarian Ivaylo Ivanov to win the bronze in the men’s under-81kg category.

A day earlier, Gefen Primo was victorious over Hungarian Reka Pupp to claim another bronze medal in the women’s under-52kg category.

President Reuven Rivlin twitted his congratulations, writing: “Thank you for making us so proud!”

The success comes after a report said last month that Israel had been given the choice to host the World Judo Championships in 2024 or 2025.

The country’s Judo association was given the option to accommodate the contest either prior to the 2024 Paris Olympics or in the following year, with all of the winners from the Summer Games, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported at the time.

Posted by ‎Gefen Primo – גפן פרימו‎ on Saturday, April 17, 2021

The offer came following a number of successful Judo tournaments held in Israel, with the most recent one held in February during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 600 athletes from all over the world arrived in Israel to participate in the February contest despite the ongoing virus restrictions at the time. Even so, the event ran smoothly, with no infections reported as a result. Butbul won the bronze in the men’s under-73kg category at that event.

If Israel decides on hosting the contest in 2025, it would serve as the beginning of the athletic journey to the 2028 games in Los Angeles.

According to the report, the competition is expected to be held at the Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv, regardless of what year is chosen.

Judo is one of Israel’s strongest sports, with Israeli judokas taking home five of the nine Olympic medals won by the country so far.

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