Israeli wins bronze at European judo championships
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Israeli wins bronze at European judo championships

Tommy Arshansky secures team’s first medal on first day of the competition

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Tommy Arshansky (blue) at the World Championships, 2011 (photo credit: screen capture BentzWatchJudo/Youtube)
Tommy Arshansky (blue) at the World Championships, 2011 (photo credit: screen capture BentzWatchJudo/Youtube)

Tommy Arshansky on Thursday won the bronze medal in the under-60 kilogram category at the European Championships in Budapest, giving the Israeli delegation its first medal of the contest on opening day.

Tommy Arshansky (photo credit: Israel Olympic Committee)
Tommy Arshansky (photo credit: Israel Olympic Committee)

“I competed with an injury and stepped on to the mat because coach Oren Smadja insisted,” the excited Arshansky told Sport5.

The 22-year-old Russian immigrant had previously won a number of medals on the World Cup circuit, and was Israel’s youngest judoka at the 2012 Summer Games in London, but had fallen into a rut over the last several months.

After a hard time and series of losses Smadja “insisted on bringing me to the European Championship,” Arshanksy said, thanking his coach.

Smadja, himself a former Olympic medalist, told the Israeli sports network he was happy for the team and for Tommy. “This is the start of a long journey with clear goals and objectives,” he said.

Including Arshansky, the blue and white team sent a total of six judokas — two of them women — to the competition.

Israel’s national judo team has long been successful, and the past year marked a change of guard with the retirement of Arik Zeevi and emergence of a few up and coming judokas, including three Olympians under the age of 25.

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