Israel's Sagi Muki is one of 12 blue-and-white judokas who are set to compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam next weekend without their country’s flag by their names or on their backs due to the demand of the organizers..
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
Sagi Muki won a gold metal in the up-to-73 kg. weight category at the European Judo Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2015. On Friday night, Muki proved he could hold his own against heavier competitors, too, when he took gold at the European Judo Championship in Tel Aviv in the up-to-80 kg. category — Israel's third metal in the current competition.
Gefen Primo won bronze in the up-to-52 kg. weight category and Tal Flickr won bronze in up-to-66 kg.
The day of competitions opened with a moment of silence in memory of the ten youths who were killed Thursday after being swept away by a surge in the Tzafit stream, west of the southern part of the Dead Sea, amid intense, unseasonable storms throughout Israel.
In the first round, Muki went against his first match, Jonathan Alardon (29).
In the second round, Muki went up against Matthias Kasei of Belgium. Muki started strong, was very aggressive and on the attack. Muki was wobbly in his second battle against a Belgian who tried to make a surprising move in the last few seconds, but he persevered and clinched the win on the way to the quarter-finals.
Muki met Laszlo Sshokanai, a Hungarian, in the quarter finals. He won within 15 seconds. A minute and 34 seconds into the round, Muki earned another win for the Israelis, who would meet the Russian judoka Aslan Lafingov in the semifinals.
After a tough fight, Muki beat Lafingov and 25-year-old Sami Jishi in the semifinals.
In the final match, Muki and Jishi failed to score within first four minutes, during which time each of them received one penalty. Fifty seconds later, they both received another penalty. In the end, Muki managed the huge victory. This time, Israel was able to celebrate its win with the audience.
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