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Tokyo 2020Windsurfer Yoav Cohen wins race but comes in 4th overall

Israel’s mixed judo team defeats Brazil, will battle Russians for Olympic bronze

One final round stands between the team and a podium slot; earlier, it lost quarter-final when France fought back from 3:1 to win 4:3

Team Israel celebrates winning the judo mixed team's repechage bout against Brazil during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)
Team Israel celebrates winning the judo mixed team's repechage bout against Brazil during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

Israel’s mixed team in judo scored a 4:2 victory over Brazil on Saturday in the repechage at the Tokyo Olympics, with a match against the Russian team now standing between the Israeli athletes and a bronze medal.

Tohar Butbul won his first match in the round before Gili Sharir lost to her opponent.

A win for Li Kochman was shortly followed by a defeat for Raz Hershko, leaving the score at 2:2.

However a win for Peter Paltchik took the score to 3:2 before Timna Nelson-Levy won the deciding bout, with the final score at 4:2 in Israel’s favor.

Earlier in the day Israel lost 4-3 to France in the quarter-finals after initially taking a strong lead 3-1.

France fought back to level out the scores 3-3 before winning the final bout in the event that is being competed for the first time at the games.

Tohar Butbul of Israel, left, and Eduardo Barbosa of Brazil compete during their repechage round match in team judo competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Nelson-Levy won the first match before Butbul lost his fight, leaving the score level at 1:1.

Wins for Sharir and Kochman took the result to 3:1, before losses for Raz Hershko and Or Sasson left it at 3:3 ahead of Sharir’s second decisive fight, which she lost to Margaux Pinot.

Israel’s Timna Nelson Levy celebrates winning the decisive bout in the judo mixed team’s bronze medal B match against Russia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP)

In the previous elimination round of 16, Israel defeated Italy 4-3 — Sharir won two bouts, while Hershko and Paltchik also won.

Sharir’s victory over individual bronze medalist Maria Centracchio was a tie-breaker in the competition.

Margaux Pinot of France, left, and Gili Sharir of Israel compete during their elimination round match in team judo competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 31, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

As a nation, Russia are banned from Tokyo 2020 after being found guilty of state-sponsored doping, meaning their athletes cannot use the Russian flag and anthem.

But more than 330 Russian athletes have been allowed to compete under the ROC moniker, meaning Russia has a significant presence in Tokyo.

The French team will now face Japan, which is hoping for its 10th gold medal in judo at the Olympics.

On Thursday, unnamed officials in Israel’s delegation to the Tokyo Olympics voiced strong criticism of the country’s judo team.

No Israeli has even reached the semifinals in this year’s competition.

“This is a huge failure. Conclusions must be drawn as to how this collapse happened at the Olympics,” an unnamed delegation official is quoted as saying by Ynet. “There is something systematic here, it isn’t a one-time failure, and all the judokas lost to inferior rivals.”

France’s Teddy Riner (white) and Israel’s Or Sasson compete in the judo mixed team’s quarterfinal bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

Earlier in the week the Israeli Olympic Committee said in a statement that “summaries and conclusions will only be drawn at the end of the games when we return to Israel.”

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Israel won two bronzes in judo, bringing the country’s total of Olympic medals to nine (now ten) — four in judo, with the sport considered a source of national pride.

Members of team Israel (blue) comfort members of team Italia following their victory in their judo mixed team’s elimination round bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (Jack GUEZ / AFP)

Avishag Semberg’s taekwondo bronze in the women’s -49kg category last Saturday remains Israel’s only medal so far in the 2021 games.

Meanwhile windsurfer Yoav Cohen finished in first place in the Men’s RS:X Windsurfing medal race on Saturday, but it was not enough to put him on the podium with the Israeli coming in fourth overall.

Israel’s Yoav Cohen competes during the rs:x men’s race at the Enoshima harbour during the 2020 Summer Olympics, July 28, 2021, in Fujisawa, Japan. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Earlier Saturday, Israeli archer Itay Shanny’s surprise Olympic run ended when he lost in the last eight in the men’s individual competition after a dramatic shoot off was needed to separate him from eventual victor Tang Chih-chun.

Shanny, 22, and his Taiwanese opponent were tied at five sets each and the final result coming down to a single arrow, with the one closest to the center advancing to the quarter-finals.

Tang hit the center, scoring 10 points, while Shanny scored a nine.

Shanny, who is the Jewish state’s first-ever archer to reach the Olympics, surprised with his run, knocking out two higher-ranked archers. Shanny had placed 60th out of 64 competitors in the initial ranking round.

Israel’s Itay Shanny competes in the men’s individual eliminations during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo on July 31, 2021. (ADEK BERRY / AFP)

Israel’s swimmers also finished 8th in the Olympic debut of the 4×100-meter mixed medley relay after a strong display to make the final.

Britain won the event where two men and two women per country swim different legs, smashing the world record in the process. The United States finished fifth.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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