Israeli judoka Gefen Primo won a medal in the World Championships on Monday for the first time in her career, taking home the bronze in Budapest, Hungary.
Primo became the first Israeli woman on the podium since Yarden Gerbi’s silver in 2014. It is the Jewish state’s 11th medal overall in world championships.
The 21-year-old nevertheless will not represent Israel in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, after she lost the battle for the country’s sole ticket in the under-52kg category to Gili Cohen.
While Cohen lost her first match Monday, Primo beat opponents from Mexico and Brazil to reach the quarterfinal, where she lost to Switzerland’s Fabienne Kocher, who also ended up snagging a bronze medal.
In the repechage, Primo beat Mongolia’s Lkhagvasürengiin Sosorbaram and then prevailed over Diyora Keldiyorova of Uzbekistan to win the medal.
In April, Primo took bronze in the European Championships.
In the men’s under-66kg category, Tal Flicker lost in the third round to Japan’s reigning world champion Joshiro Maruyama.
In March, the Israel Hayom newspaper reported that Israel had been given the choice to host the World Judo Championships in 2024 or 2025. The country’s judo association was reportedly 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 offer came following a number of successful judo tournaments held in Israel, the most recent one in February, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some 600 athletes from all over the world arrived to participate in the February contest, despite the virus restrictions at the time. The event ran smoothly, with no infections reported as a result of it.
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.