Olympic-winning Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi announced her retirement from the sport at a press conference on Monday.
The 28-year-old, who grew up in the central city of Kfar Saba, took a bronze at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
She is the second Israeli woman to win an Olympic medal, following judoka Yael Arad’s silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona games.
A tearful Gerbi told the press conference that after returning from an elbow injury sustained after her Olympic win, “I felt that the fire in me was going out.”
“I didn’t have the energy to give my all on the [judo] mat… I’m fulfilled, I don’t have the strength to get more out of myself… It was just a question of time.”
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“The people who are close to me already knew about it. It wasn’t an easy decision and it was mine, I’m the only one who feels it. Tomorrow, I’ll get up in the morning and I haven’t got a clue what I’m going to do next.”
Gerbi said she was thinking of opening a judo club for children.
“I’m finishing my career with my head held high,” she said, “proud of every goal that I set myself and of all my accomplishments.”
Gerbi, who won the World Judo Championships in 2013, auctioned off her ID and her Olympic name patch to raise funds for the children’s cancer ward at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.