Tokyo 2020

Israel misses out on judo bronze as Tokyo Olympics day 2 brings mixed results

Baruch Shmailov loses in 3rd-place repechage of men’s -66kg competition; teammate Gili Cohen knocked out in round of 16; Jewish state’s first-ever Olympic surfer competes

Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia, top, and Baruch Shmailov of Israel compete during their men's -66kg quarterfinal judo match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Vazha Margvelashvili of Georgia, top, and Baruch Shmailov of Israel compete during their men's -66kg quarterfinal judo match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Israel’s Olympic team missed out on a second medal at the Tokyo Games Sunday afternoon as the second full day of the Olympics saw a range of Israeli wins and losses across the board.

A day after taekwondo wunderkind Avishag Semberg won the bronze in the women’s -49kg category, the Jewish state’s first in the 2021 games, Israeli eyes turned to the dojo, where judoka Baruch Shmailov faced Brazil’s Daniel Cargnin in the bronze medal repechage of the men’s -66kg.

Cargnin ended up winning the match and the bronze, giving Shmailov a fifth-place finish and ending his medal hopes.

Shmailov, 26, had dropped to the bronze medal repechage after losing in the quarterfinals to Georgia’s Vazha Margvelashvili.

Margvelashvili won with an ippon after 2:59 minutes, after winning matches against Australia’s Nathan Katz in the round of 16 and Mozambique’s Kevin Loforte in the round of 32.

Israel’s Baruch Shmailov celebrates after beating Slovenia’s Adrian Gomboc to proceed to the bronze medal fight (Amit Shissel/Israeli Olympic Committee)

Teammate Gili Cohen, competing in the women’s -52kg judo competition, also saw success in her round of 32 fight against Gulbadam Babamuratova of Turkmenistan, but fell to an ippon from Belgium’s Charline van Snick in the round of 16, ending her hopes for a medal.

Speaking after her defeat, Cohen told reporters, “I felt good, but I made a mistake. She’s good on the ground and that’s how it is in judo. My hand hurts, but my heart hurts more.”

Israeli judoka Gili Cohen at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, July 25, 2021. (Israel Olympic Committee)

On Saturday, Israeli judoka Shira Rishony lost her shot at an Olympic bronze after being defeated by Ukrainian Daria Bilodid. Rishony had been the first Israeli athlete with a chance at a medal.

In what for a time seemed like another possible medal hope, in the women’s Road Cycling race, a grueling 137-kilometer route with a total elevation of 2692 meters, Israel’s Omer Shapira was in second place on Sunday with just 20 kilometers remaining after having led the pack earlier in the race.

However, she eventually dropped to finished 24th overall.

Anna Plichta of Poland front, Anna Kiesenhofer of Austria center, and Omer Shapira of Israel, lead in a three-rider breakaway during the women’s cycling road race at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, in Oyama, Japan. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Earlier Sunday, Anat Lelior, 19, became Israel’s first and sole surfer at the Games, competing in the women’s shortboard category at the Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach on Tokyo’s east coat. She was knocked out of the competition after finishing fourth in her two heats, scoring 8.93 in the first and 7.77 in the second.

In windsurfing, Yoav Cohen in the men’s RS:X category finished in 5th position Sunday morning after his third of four races. In the women’s RS:X category, Katy Spychakov finished fourth in her third of four races. The finals are set for Monday.

Israel’s Anat Lelior maneuvers on a wave during the second round of the women’s surfing at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, at Tsurigasaki beach in Ichinomiya, Japan. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Shai Kakon in the women’s windsurfing Laser Radial category finished 39th in her first race, with the second and final stage set for later Sunday.

And in Badminton, Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova lost her first group game against India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu. She faces Hong Kong’s Chueng Ngan Yi in her second game on Tuesday.

India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu competes against Israel’s Ksenia Polikarpova during their women’s singles badminton match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

In shooting, Sergey Richter finished in 27th place in the men’s 10-meter air rifle in what he described afterward as “a very disappointing performance.” In the 2016 Olympics, he finished 14th.

Sergey Richter, of Israel, competes in the men’s 10-meter air rifle at the Asaka Shooting Range in the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Lihie Raz, meanwhile, was performing in the women’s artistic gymnastics competition.

In swimming, Anastasia Gorbenko competed in the women’s 100m backstroke and 100m breaststroke qualification, Denis Loktev in the men’s 200m freestyle qualification, and Yaakov Tomarkin and Michael Leitrovsky in the men’s 100m backstroke qualification.

On Saturday, Semberg’s bronze gave Israel its first-ever medal in the field of taekwondo, its first medal at the Tokyo Games and only its 10th medal in Olympic history.

Turkey’s Rukiye Yildirim (Blue) and Israel’s Abishag Semberg (Red) compete in the taekwondo women’s -49kg bronze medal A bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Tokyo on July 24, 2021. (Javier SORIANO / AFP)

The 19-year-old defeated Turkey’s Rukiye Yıldırım 27-22. Taekwondo now joins judo, canoeing and sailing as the only sports in which Israel has won Olympic medals.

Semberg, Israel’s third female Olympic medalist, scored an early lead in the first of three two-minute rounds, and managed to maintain it during the second one. However, Yildirim overtook her during the third round, leading to a tense finale in which the Israeli eventually managed to take the lead once again in the final 25 seconds.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke Sunday morning with Semberg, telling her that she had “brought great pride and have warmed the hearts of the people, not just by your enormous achievement but in your manner of expression and in the message that you conveyed to Israeli youth,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Israel’s Abishag Semberg celebrates winning the taekwondo women’s -49kg bronze medal A bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Tokyo, on July 24, 2021. (Javier Soriano/AFP)

Semberg, who spoke Saturday evening with President Isaac Herzog, thanked Bennett and told him: “It is an honor for me to be an example and source of inspiration for young women and be an example on realizing one’s dream… In the end, I achieved the dream.”

Elsewhere in Tokyo, Israel’s artistic gymnast Alexander Shatilov fell out of the competition Saturday after failing to advance to the final eight. The 34-year-old later said this will likely be his final Olympics.

Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat, meanwhile, was expected to reach the finals after scoring 15.2 in the opening round of the men’s floor qualifying event. The finals are set for next week.

Israel’s Artem Dolgopyat competes in the pommel horse event of the artistic gymnastics men’s qualification during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo, on July 24, 2021. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP)

A full schedule for Israel’s athletes at the Tokyo Olympics can be found here.

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