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.
ברוך שמאילוב עם מדליית זהב בטורניר המאסטרס הענק והחשוב בירושלים.
הישג מדהים לג׳ודוקא הנפלא שלנו.
כבוד ענק אלוף! ???????????????? pic.twitter.com/49cSc0D69G
— הדר סגל Hadar Segal ???????????????????????? (@hadarse) December 20, 2022
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.