Israel’s golden Block captures fourth straight Muaythai medal at Worlds

“There is no doubt that this [Block] is the greatest Israeli athlete over the past four years."

By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
July 29, 2019 23:24
2 minute read.
Fighter Nili Block with 4th gold medal, IFMA World Muaythai Championships, Bangkok.

ISRAELI FIGHTER Nili Block (left) captured her fourth straight gold medal at the IFMA World Muaythai Championships over the weekend in Bangkok.. (photo credit: AYELET/COURTESY)

Israeli fighter Nili Block took the gold medal once again in the under-60kg category at the 2019 IFMA World Muaythai Championships in Bangkok on Sunday by beating Ekaterina Vinnikova of Russia. It was Block’s fourth straight world championships gold, an unprecedented achievement for a blue-and-white athlete.

On her way to the final, the 24-year-old Block beat, among others, competitors from Australia, Belarus and Slovakia.

Muaythai, or literally Thai boxing, is a combat sport that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. This discipline is known as the “art of eight limbs” as it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, and shins.

“The ability to keep a certain mentality for a long time, for four years in a row, is the exciting part and what I feel makes me different,” said Block.

“My motto is that I do not owe anything to anyone and I’m not afraid to let anyone down. I am thankful to my coach, Benny Cogan, who has trained with me from a young age and to the Ayelet Federation for the endless support they have provided me. I definitely do not take that for granted.”

“Nili did it again,” said Cogan. “Everything went according to our plan... she is Israel’s best ambassador and to this day the most accomplished athlete in the country’s history and she proudly represents us all.”

The American-born Block made aliyah with her family when she was two years old. Describing herself as a “traditional” Jew, was introduced to kickboxing at the age of 10. Her mother, then an officer in Israel’s Border Police force, wanted her daughter to learn self-defense.

In addition to her sustained success at the World Championships, in 2017 Block also picked up her first career medal at the World Games, an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested at the Olympic Games.

President of the Ayelet Arik Kaplan commented on Block’s accomplishment as well.

“There is no doubt that this [Block] is the greatest Israeli athlete over the past four years and the among the greatest Israeli athletes ever. The honor she brings to the State of Israel is invaluable.”

Also, Israeli Elad Mokadem (-75k) won the silver medal after a tough battle against a Thai opponent, and Dean Haziza (-54 kg) took home the bronze medal.


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