Israeli competitors in the women’s wrestling and men’s taekwondo events at the Rio Olympics both lost their first round bouts Wednesday, although each may yet have a chance to take home a bronze medal.
Ilana Kratysh, competing in the 69kg women’s freestyle wrestling contest, lost her match against Brazilian Gilda Maria De Oliveria, by 6 points to 2.
That was soon after taekwondo fighter Ron Atias was beaten 16-2 on points by Brazilian Venilton Torres Teixeira.
Kratysh, 26, from Haifa, was competing in her first Olympics and is the first Israeli to enter the women’s wrestling contest. She began her sports training in judo before moving over to wrestling.
Ranked fifth in the world, the defeat was a major upset for Kratysh, who has won several medals in European contests during her career, with an unbroken run of medals every year since 2013.
After the bout Kratysh claimed “the opponent smeared herself with oil and I couldn’t control the holds,” Channel 2 reported.
If De Oliveria wins her semifinal bout and makes it to the final, Kratysh will qualify for the runners-up contest — giving her a chance to win the bronze medal.
Taekwondo fighter Atias, ranked 15th in the world in the under-58kg category, was also representing Israel for the first time at the Olympic Games.
The bout started badly for Atias after his opponent kicked him in the head in the first round, scoring three points. In the following round Teixeira again scored a blow to Atias’s head and pulled ahead to 8:0. However, Atias’s coach Yechiam Sharabi successfully appealed to the judges and the lead was reduced to 7:0.
By the end of the third round Teixeira had won 16 points while Atias, having been penalized for an illegal kick to the legs, scored just two points.
Despite his loss Atias could also still have a chance at a medal if Teixeira wins his semifinal bout and goes on to the final. Atias would then be eligible to fight in the repechage runners-up contest for the bronze medal.
So far Israel has won two bronzes at the games, both of them in judo, and both in the run-off for the medal.