Arik Ze’evi is on the verge of qualifying for his fourth straight Olympic Games after winning a gold medal at the Grand Slam event in Moscow on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Israeli defeated Cyrille Maret of France in the final of the under-100-kilogram competition after beating 2009 world champion Maxim Rakov in the semis.

Ze’evi’s achievement was marred by a slight controversy when Egyptian Ramadan Darwish refused to shake his hand and quickly walked away at the end of their quarterfinal bout.

The referee ordered Darwish back onto the floor, but the Egyptian still wouldn’t shake Ze’evi’s hand and left swiftly after giving the traditional bow.

“In the last year I proved to myself and to everyone else that I’m among the world’s best,” Ze’evi said. “I hadn’t heard the Hatikva in a while and I was very emotional. The 300 rankings points I picked up for this win effectively clinch my place in the London Games and my goal now will be to continue to move up the rankings in order to get a better draw in the Olympics.”

Ze’evi won a bronze medal at the 2004 Games in Athens and feels that he has a real shot at scaling the podium once more in London.

“It is slightly pretentious to talk about winning an Olympic medal at this stage,” Ze’evi said. “But currently I’m at a level that could see me take a medal.”

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