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Israeli judoka wins gold medal at Masters tournament held in Jerusalem

‘I’m happy to have been able to do it in front of the Israeli crowd, which is the best in the world,’ says Baruch Shmailov

Israeli judoka Baruch Shmailov (right) during his match against French judoka Daikii Bouba at the Jodu Masters tournament in Jerusalem, December 20, 2022. (YouTube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Israeli judoka Baruch Shmailov (right) during his match against French judoka Daikii Bouba at the Jodu Masters tournament in Jerusalem, December 20, 2022. (YouTube screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Israeli judoka Baruch Shmailov on Tuesday won a gold medal at the Judo Masters tournament, currently being held in Jerusalem, defeating French contestant Daikii Bouba in the finals.

Shmailov’s win was the most notable achievement by the Israeli team during the first day of the tournament.

“I always come prepared to the Masters tournament. This is my fourth medal and first Israeli gold medal,” Shmailov said in an interview with the Ynet news site.

“I’m happy to have been able to do it in front of the Israeli crowd, which is the best in the world. They gave me a lot of strength, which I put to good use,” he said.

The Judo Masters tournament is the third most important in judo, after the Olympics and the World Judo Championships. The tournament is considered an important step toward securing a spot in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The international tournament has brought over 400 athletes from around the world to Israel for a 3-day competition held at the Pais Arena in the capital.

Shmailov, 28, who competes in the 66-kg weight category, reached fifth place in his class in the Olympics in Tokyo last year. In 2018, he won a silver medal at the Judo Masters tournament held in Guangzhou, China.

Israeli judoka Gefen Primo came close to winning a bronze medal Tuesday but was defeated by Italian judoka Odette Giuffrida. Judokas Timna Nelson Levy, Shira Rishony and Tal Flicker were eliminated in the earlier stages of the competition.

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