Israeli Ju-Jitsu World Championship medalists .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Israel’s delegation to the Ju-Jitsu World Championship for Juniors (under-21) and Aspirants (under-18) returned home from Abu Dhabi with two gold medals, four silvers and seven bronzes, but the Hatikvah national anthem and the Israel flag were both conspicuously missing in the medal ceremonies.
While the members of the delegation reported that they received a warm welcome and were treated very well in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Israel’s representatives were once more forced to compete in Abu Dhabi without any symbol of their country.
With Israel and the UAE not having diplomatic relations, the blue-and-white team was forced to compete under the flag of the Jiu-Jitsu International Federation. The organizers claiming that due to security reasons, the Israelis can’t have their flag on their uniforms and instead of having ISR (Israel) by their names on the scoreboard and on their backs, they will have to take part as representatives of the JJIF.
For the same reason, they explained that should an Israeli win a gold medal, the national anthem would not be played, just as was the case in the judo Grand Slam event in Abu Dhabi last October.
Meshi Rozenfeld won a gold medal in the women’s juniors under-55 kilogram competition, while Nimrod Ryder finished first in the men’s juniors under-77kg event.
Sarah Kovilev took a silver in the aspirants under-48kg contest, a remarkable achievement when considering that the 16-year-old was born deaf.
Ju-Jitsu is supported in Israel by Ayelet, the Federation of Non-Olympic Competitive Sport.