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Peter Pelchik is ready for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam: "I miss the dime to the pound - the difference between bronze and gold" | Israel today


The goal he set for himself: "Maintaining hunger - my X factor" • The pressure of being the face of the team: "There is no other option" • And the experience in front of the home crowd: "There is no such madness anywhere" • The judoka is ready for the prestigious competition that will open this morning • Also: every The Israeli men and women who will get on the mattress

The judoka Peter Pelchik will step on the mat on Saturday at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, with the aim of continuing the momentum of the last period, after finishing 2022 with the bronze medal around his neck at the Masters in Jerusalem, and starting this year with the bronze at the Paris Grand Slam.

The 31-year-old Palachik, who competes in the weight category up to 100 kg, loves the events in Israel very much, and since 2018 at the European Championships held in Israel he has taken full advantage of the home advantage, and managed to get on the podium every time.

"I'm coming to the Grand Slam well," said Falchik on the eve of the competition.

"What happened in Paris is left behind. I'm facing forward - now to Tel Aviv and later to the training camp in Japan. I'm constantly trying to achieve something and put it behind me, enjoy it that day and that's it, that's how I program myself and arrive prepared."

How do you keep your hunger at bay?

"The goal I set for myself is to maintain motivation and hunger for every competition. I'm still not in top shape, and that's the X-factor I need to come with before every Olympics. I may feel good and strong, but I'm missing that penny to the pound, which really makes the difference between a bronze medal and a gold , and know what significance it has. Hope to bring it in Tel Aviv and later this year."

Peter Pelchik in training for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam,

Is it stressful to compete in front of the crowd here?

"Everyone knows that I like to compete in Israel because of the crowd. I love this stage, I'm crazy about the crowd here. I look into their eyes after every fight, and even before that I look around and see the madness they have, it's nowhere in the world. I'm connected to it on a level personally and excited to compete again in Tel Aviv. There was also a display of purpose in Jerusalem that is not obvious - people told me that they stood in traffic for two hours. We'll see more of that this week."

You become the face of the team and everything is on your shoulders, how is it to rise when all the pressure is on you?

"There is no other option. If it's when my friends win, then there is an expectation for me to push forward like in poker, but if I don't succeed, the whole funnel is focused on my day, when I personally try to focus on myself. It's very difficult and tempting to look at the guys - if they Getting medals, I feel like it too. I close the social networks and it helps me focus and bring my best."

After the lottery, where can you go in Tel Aviv?

"No matter how many competitions and medals I have, the draw is a feeling that cannot be described in words. I only see the first fight, my team and I prepare for it, as I wait to know who my first opponent will be."

Is it fun to see a judo event here every time?

"What the World Judo Association has done with the Israeli Association, it has been repeated every time. It's crazy, it has become some kind of cultural event. Friends from abroad who come to see competitions in Israel write to me every time and it's growing at a crazy rate.

The experience it gives the spectators, when it is in an Olympic year with important points.

An event that has become a tradition, and I can only say thank you.

There's nothing more exciting than that."

Peter Pelchik in the battle for the bronze medal at the Jerusalem Masters.

Will he smile again in Tel Aviv?, Photo: Oren Aharoni

The best show in town

As mentioned, the Tel Aviv Judo Grand Slam will open this morning (10:00), at the Shlomo Hall in Tel Aviv, with the participation of about 400 athletes from 52 countries, together with 41 Israeli athletes.

Quite a few stars have arrived here, and perhaps the most familiar name to the Israeli audience is that of the five-time world champion, the Olympic champion and the European champion, the Frenchman Clarisse Agbagnano, who will participate in an international competition on the world tour for the first time since she was a child.

As a reminder, Agbagano won gold in Tokyo 2020 in the weight category up to 63 kg and then gave birth to her first daughter, and now she is returning to the world tour with the goal of Paris 2024. Her best friend and Olympic bronze medalist Jordan Jarbi will also come to watch her.

Clarice Agbagano and Jordan Jarby.

Once rivals on the mat, today friendships outside, photo: AFP

The Japanese team is also sending five representatives, and the most senior of them is 27-year-old Tsukasa Yoshida, world champion in 2017 and 2018, and Olympic bronze medalist from Tokyo in the weight category up to 57 kg. Also in the Japanese women's team, 28-year-old Mami Omaki will arrive. The world champion for 2015, who will compete up to 78 kg.

In the men's category, we can watch the Spanish Francisco Grigos, the European champion up to 60 kg. In the up to 66 kg category, the Georgian Waza Margashvili, the Tokyo Olympic vice champion and the European vice champion, and Fabio Basile, the Rio 2016 Olympic champion, will compete.

In weight up to 73 kg we can see in action the Mongolian Ochir Tsugtbater Tashand, the reigning world champion with the gold in Tashkent in 2022. Up to 100 kg the Portuguese Jorge Fonseca, the world champion for 2021 and the Olympic bronze medalist from Tokyo, will compete.

In the open weight we will see the Brazilian Rafael Silva, the Olympic bronze medalist from Tokyo and from the World Championship.

At the same weight we saw the Azeri Kokauri, the Dutch Roy Mayer and other prominent young people.

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2023-02-16

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