(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
The European Judo Union has selected Israel as the host of the 2018 European Judo Championships.
Israel hosted the under-23 continental championships in Tel Aviv last November and the success of the event convinced the EJU to hand the Israel Judo Association the right to organize the continent’s most prestigious competition.
“It is a great honor for us to be chosen as the hosts of such a major sporting event,” said IJA chairman Moshe Ponte. “The country needs to take it on itself to help us. We can’t do this alone.”
This year’s European Championships got off to a disappointing start for the Israel delegation on Thursday.
Eight Israelis entered the fray in the first day of the event in Warsaw, Poland, but the shorthanded blue-and-white squad ended the day empty-handed.
Baruch Shmailov (under 66kg competition), Gili Cohen (U52) and Noa Minsker (U48) all came within a win of scaling the podium, only to end the day in fifth place after losing in their battles for a bronze medal.
Many of Europe’s top judokas are skipping the first major continental championships since the Rio Olympics, with the Israel delegation also without its biggest stars.
Olympic medalists Yarden Gerbi and Ori Sasson are both recovering from injuries, with fellow Olympians Sagi Muki and Golan Pollack also sitting out the championships in Warsaw.