Israeli taekwondo fighter Ron Atias lost his first round match Wednesday at the Rio Olympics, although the martial artist may still have a slim chance of a medal.
Brazilian Venilton Torres Teixeira beat Atias 16:2 on points to advance into the semifinals.
Atias, ranked 15th in the world in the under 58kg category, was representing Israel for the first time at the Olympic Games.
The bout started badly for Atias after his opponent kicked him in the head in the first round, scoring three points. In the following round Teixeira again scored a blow to Atias’s head and pulled ahead to 8:0. However, Atias’s coach Yachiam Sharabi successfully appealed to the judges and the lead was reduced to 7:0.
By the end of the third round Teixeira had won 16 points while Atias, having been penalized for an illegal kick to the legs, scored just two points.
Despite his loss Atias may still have a chance at a medal if Teixeira wins his semifinal bout and goes on to the final. Atias would then be eligible to fight in the repechage runners-up contest for the bronze medal.
So far Israel has won two bronze medals at the games, both of them in the judo event.