Israel’s delegation claimed three medals at the Under-23 European Judo Championships in Tel Aviv over the weekend, with all the triumphs arriving in the first day of the event at the Drive-In Arena on Friday.
Adi Grossman took a silver medal in the women’s under-57 kilogram contest, beating four rivals before suffering defeat against Therese Stoll of Germany in the final.
“I was ready for the championships and the crowd gave me a real push,” said Grossman. “I had an amazing day, but I’m slightly disappointed because I wanted to play Hatikvah for everyone.”
Tohar Butbul also reached a final, in the men’s under-73kg competition, finishing with a silver after losing to Hidayat Heydarov of Azerbaijan. “I had an excellent day and I felt good,” said Butbul. “This is the first time that I have taken part in an event like this in Israel and it was a great experience.”
Israel’s third medal came courtesy of Alexander Raskopine. After losing in the quarterfinals of the men’s under-66kg event, Raskopine won two bouts in the repechage to claim a bronze medal, defeating Telman Valiyev of Azerbaijan in the decisive battle after a mere 19 seconds. “The loss in the quarterfinals was tough to take,” said Raskopine. “I was down, but the coaching staff lifted me.”
None of Israel’s representatives made it any further than the quarterfinals in the second and final day of the championships on Saturday.
“I’m happy we can see the depth of Israeli judo,” said Israel Judo Association chairman Moshe Ponte. “We can see it in our senior teams, youth teams and also in the trust we receive from the European Judo Union, which granted us the right to host the event. I’m delighted that the stadium was full with 2,000 fans. Israelis love their judo.”