Israeli medalist Ron Atias (left).
(photo credit: ISRAEL TAEKWONDO FEDERATION)
Israeli taekwondo fighter Ron Atias picked up some much-needed confidence ahead of the Rio Olympics on Thursday, winning the silver medal in the under-58 kilogram event at the European Championships in Montreux, Switzerland.
The 21-year-old, ranked No. 80 in the world, was only denied the gold medal by world No. 2 Rui Braganca of Portugal. After the three rounds of regulation ended tied at 2-2, Braganca edged the Israeli in the golden-point round.
Atias had already secured his place in Rio at the European Qualification Tournament in January, and with only 16 athletes taking part in each weight category in Brazil, he knows that three wins will be enough to secure a medal.
“My goal in Rio is to win the gold medal,” said Atias, who will be Israel’s only representative in the taekwondo competitions in Rio, following in the footsteps of Maya Arusi (Athens 2004) and Bat El Gaterer (Beijing 2008).