Israeli judoka and Olympic medalist Raz Hershko, 23, took home a gold medal in the women’s +78kg category at the Paris Grand Slam 2021 on Sunday, capping off a successful run for Israeli athletes at the international competition.
Gefen Primo took home gold in the women’s -52kg category a day earlier, and Inbar Lanir picked up a bronze earlier Sunday in the women’s -78kg category.
Overall, Israel sent five women to the Paris Grand Slam and three returned with medals. Israel finished the competition ranked in third place overall for the most medals out of 45 competing nations, coming after Japan and Russia.
Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper congratulated Hershko on her win on Sunday.
“Raz, your accomplishments are the fruits of hard work and a long journey,” he said, also adding his congratulations to Lanir: “You are both a huge inspiration for every girl and teenager in Israel.”
Hershko — who took home bronze at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year for her role in the mixed group competition — beat out France’s Lea Fontaine to take the top prize. Lanir — who also holds a bronze from the Olympic team competition despite not competing — defeated the Netherlands’ Karen Stevenson to clinch third place.
In April, Hershko took home gold in her weight class at the 2021 Judo Grand Slam Antalya in Turkey. She also holds a silver medal from the Grand Prix Montreal in 2019. Lanir, 21, won bronze medals earlier this year at both the Grand Slam Tashkent in Uzbekistan and the Grand Slam Tbilisi in Georgia, both in March.
On Saturday, Primo, 21, beat France’s Astride Gneto for the gold medal. Primo’s younger sister, Kerem, 16, also competed at the Grand Slam in the women’s -57kg category, but was knocked out in her first round.
“I’m so happy for this medal, particularly in this tournament,” Primo told reporters after her win on Saturday. “For me, winning a gold medal at the Paris Grand Slam is another small dream that I accomplished. I’m happy that the hard work I invested has come to fruition at such a prestigious competition.”
Primo won bronze at the 2021 World Judo Championships in Budapest in June, as well as at the European Championships in Lisbon in April.