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Israel’s Timna Nelson-Levy wins historic gold medal at European Judo Championships

Nelson-Levy is first Israeli woman to win a gold at the championships since Yael Arad in 1993; Shira Rishony wins a bronze

Israel's Timna Nelson-Levy celebrates after winning the gold medal for the women's under 57 kg contest of the European Judo Championships 2022 at the Armeets Arena in Sofia on April 29, 2022. (Photo by Nikolay DOYCHINOV / AFP)
Israel's Timna Nelson-Levy celebrates after winning the gold medal for the women's under 57 kg contest of the European Judo Championships 2022 at the Armeets Arena in Sofia on April 29, 2022. (Photo by Nikolay DOYCHINOV / AFP)

Israel’s Timna Nelson-Levy won a gold medal at the European Judo Championships in Bulgaria on Friday, only the second Israeli woman to win in the history of the tournament.

Nelson-Levy beat Olympic silver medalist Sara-Leonie Cysique in the final of the women’s under 57 kg contest.

Her teammate Shira Rishony won a bronze medal in the under 48 kg category.

Nelson-Levy, 27, a native Jerusalemite, born to American parents who immigrated to Israel shortly after getting married, is the first Israeli woman to win a gold at the European Championships since Yael Arad in 1993.

“It’s a dream,” she said after her win. “I gave everything, I felt great throughout the tournament and I had a really good preparation.”

Friday was the first day of the competition that runs through May 1.

Nelson-Levy previously won a bronze medal in the mixed team event at the Tokyo Olympics.

Judo is one of Israel’s strongest sports, with Israeli judokas taking home five of the nine Olympic medals won by the country.

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