Israeli judo sensation Yarden Gerbi on Thursday fell just short of sweeping the Judo World Championship for a second time in a row after being defeated by French contestant Clarisse Agbegnenou in the tournament’s final match, which took place in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
Despite failing to defend her title in the under 63-kilogram category, Gerbi seemed pleased as she climbed the podium to receive the silver medal. The Israeli judoka ended a remarkable run in the tournament, easily beating all of her opponents before reaching the finals.
In the last match, however, the French contestant dominated throughout the fight. A minute and thirty-five seconds into the battle, Gerbi was on the floor, her only loss of the tournament. Agbegnenou lost to Gerbi in the final of last year’s championship.
Djerbi will receive a NIS 70,000 (about $20,00) bonus from Israel’s Olympic Committee in honor of her achievement.
“When you get to the finals you always want to win,” Gerbi said at the conclusion of the tournament, the Haaretz daily reported. “I wanted Hatikvah [Israel's national anthem] to play at the podium so that the ending would be perfect, but after this crazy year, a medal is a good sign,” she continued.
“I proved to myself that even at large competitions I can rise above, but the road is still long.”
Gerbi is expected to represent Israel in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.