Only a month ago, the holding of the Tel Aviv Grand Slam was in doubt due to budget problems, but last weekend the athletes in blue and white proved how right it was for the Judo Association to insist on hosting the prestigious competition at any cost (literally).
The team finished the competition with a great haul that included two gold medals, one silver and one bronze, and six athletes who finished in fifth place - which led Israel to secure third place overall in the medal table, after France and Canada.
came back to himself in a big way
Sagi Muki showed everyone on Friday that he is still here and that he has more to contribute to the team even in the individual competition.
The judoka conquered the mat on a great day of competition in the weight category up to 81 kg, he looked excellent and didn't let anything stop him on the way to the highest place on the podium. He defeated the Turkish Vedat Albayrak in the final with an impressive pin in only 12 seconds.
Now Muki has to prove continuity, and will take off today for a training camp in Japan in order to arrive as prepared as possible for this year's main goal - the world championship in Qatar - and perhaps become the first Israeli athlete to do it twice, after the gold in 2019 in Japan.
He left no chance, photo: Oren Aharoni
Raz Hershko (over 78 kg) continues to prove that she is made of the stuff of champions. In the last two years, Hershko has returned from almost every individual competition with a medal around her neck - which established her in the world's top group, and built her a name that can also be built on for a medal at the Paris Olympics.
Hershko also did this yesterday, with another medal, which she received from the actor and creator Lior Raz.
"A gold medal is crazy. It's fun in my heart, I'm very happy. It's amazing to finish at the top of the podium and sing the national anthem in front of the crowd in Israel. I train as hard as possible to get to these places.
"The Olympic Games are still far away, I have other goals and objectives that I want to achieve, but in the end the gold medal in the Olympic Games is my biggest goal. With the help of Shani and the team that believed in me, even when everything didn't go my way, I continued to train and it worked," she said.
A medal picker, photo: Oren Aharoni
We will hear more about them
Two young women recorded the greatest achievement of their careers so far, and it seems that the future is ahead of them: 22-year-old Tamar Malka (48 kg) obtained the silver medal on the opening day when she was stopped in the final, while yesterday, perhaps the biggest surprise of the competition, Yuli Michiner, Only 17 years old, managed to reach the battle for bronze.
Michiner is considered a big promise in the industry.
Only two months ago, the team's coach Shani Hershko decided to raise it to the open weight category.
She started training at the age of 4, at the age of 14 she arrived at the boarding school in Wingate, and that same year she obtained her first medal in the Israel Championship for seniors when she was ranked third.
A year later she already went to her first junior competition abroad, took second place, and according to what we saw yesterday, we will hear a lot more about her.
Timna Nelson Levy and Tamar Malka.
They also left with medals, photo: Oren Aharoni
We will hear a lot more about her, photo: Oren Aharoni
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