(photo credit: REUTERS)
The World Judo Championships ended on a disappointing note for the Israeli delegation on Saturday, with European Championships silver medalist Or Sasson being knocked out in his first bout in the over-100 kilogram competition in Astana, Kazakhstan.
After receiving a bye into the second round, Sasson was beaten by Sung-Min Kim of South Korea, ending the Israeli’s participation in the event far earlier than he expected.
“I’m very disappointed with the result and with the way the bout unfolded,” said Sasson. “I didn’t manage to be as aggressive as I wanted to be. I’m taking a few days off to clear my head and I will be back with renewed energy and determination ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympics.”
The Israeli delegation ended the championships with one medal, courtesy of Golan Pollack, who won a bronze in the under-66kg competition. Pollack became only the sixth Israeli to scale the podium at the Worlds, joining Yael Arad (1991 – bronze, 1993 – silver), Oren Smadja (1995 – silver), Arik Ze’evi (2001 – silver), Alice Schlesinger (2009 – bronze) and Yarden Gerbi (2013 – gold, 2014 – silver).
Gerbi came tantalizingly close to becoming the first Israeli to win three medals at the Worlds last week, suffering heartbreaking defeats in the semifinals and the battle for the bronze medal in the women’s under-63 kilogram competition.