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Introducing Israel’s Olympians: Soso Palelashvili
By ALLON SINAI
05/07/2012
Meet Israel's Judo Olympian in the Men’s under-73kg category.
 
Despite not achieving the Olympic Committee of Israel’s criteria for London qualification, Palelashvili was added to the delegation thanks to what the country’s Elite Sport Department deemed to be an extraordinary athletic accomplishment.

The 25-year-old claimed a bronze medal in the under- 73kg competition at April’s European Championships in Chelyabinsk, Russia, and despite missing out on the OCI’s requirements of being ranked among the world’s top 20 by a single place, was handed a ticket to London.

Palelashvili stunned two-time defending European champion Joao Pina of Portugal in the second round in Chelyabinsk, and after losing to Tomasz Adamiec in the quarterfinals, beat Mansur Isaev and Giovanni Di Cristo in the repechage to clinch a bronze.

Palelashvili, who moved from Georgia to Israel with his wife in 2006, was earmarked by the OCI as a future Olympian following the Beijing Games and lived up to the expectations by qualifying for London.

The fickle nature of his sport means it is difficult to predict what he might achieve this summer. However, if things go his way he could certainly reach the quarterfinals and from there anything is possible.

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