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Double Olympic medal-winning Israeli judoka Or Sasson announces retirement

Sportsman, 31, who took bronze at 2016 and 2020 Games, says he feels his career has gone as far as it will, has no regrets

Bronze medalist Or Sasson celebrates on the podium of the men's-over 100kg judo contest at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2016. (AFP/Jack Guez)
Bronze medalist Or Sasson celebrates on the podium of the men's-over 100kg judo contest at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 12, 2016. (AFP/Jack Guez)

Israeli judoka Or Sasson announced Thursday that he was retiring from the sport in which he won two Olympic medals for Israel, among numerous other international successes.

At a press conference in Tel Aviv, Sasson, 31, said he felt his career had gone as far as it would and that he was retiring “at one with my losses and at one with my successes.”

“Judo is the sport that made me the man I am. I feel that I have fully realized my career and there is nothing I have done or not done that I regret,” he said.

Sasson won his first Olympic medal in the men’s over-100 kilogram contest at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and then another in the team contest at the Tokyo 2020 Games, which due to the COVID-19 pandemic were held last year.

However, Sasson failed to reach the podium in the individual contest in Tokyo.

Sasson said that after Tokyo he found he no longer had “the fire and the drive” to compete.

Israel’s Or Sasson celebrates after winning the bronze medal during the men’s over 100-kg judo competition at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Aside from his Olympic success, Sasson won the Israeli national championships when he was just 17, and was the European championships silver medalist in 2015 and 2016. He also scored gold, silver and bronze medals at other international meets.

In the 2016 Summer Olympics, Egyptian judoka Islam El Shahaby refused to shake hands with Sasson after being defeated by the Israeli, and only begrudgingly made the obligatory end-of-match bow after being called back to the mat by the referee. He was later removed from the tournament for refusing to follow protocol.

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