Little to cheer about for Israel delegation

Day 2 full of disappointment after judokas Pollack, Cohen crash out while swimmer Toumarkin struggles.

August 8, 2016 02:10
2 minute read.

Israeli judoka Golan Pollack was in complete shock after being sent packing yesterday in the first round of the Rio Olympics.. (photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)


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Matters went from bad to worse for the Israel delegation in the second day of action at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.

Golan Pollack and Gili Cohen, two of Israeli judo’s big guns, were knocked out in their opening bouts of the day, while Israel’s top swimmer, Ya’akov Toumarkin, was also far from his best.

Pollack, who won a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships, was sent packing after less than two minutes in the first round of the under-66 kilogram competition, being upset by Mathews Punza of Zambia who registered an Ippon by pinning him down for 25 seconds.

“This is very tough to take,” said a heartbroken Pollack. “I still can’t quite comprehend what happened. I felt like I started off well, but I made a mistake for one second, I froze and there was no way back from there. I’m really angry at myself, but I’m a sportsman and I need to recover from this.”

Cohen received a bye into the second round of the women’s under-52kg event, but didn’t go any further, losing to Christianne Legentil of Mauritius.

Legentil advanced to face Cohen after Joud Fahmy of Saudi Arabia failed to show up for their first round contest in an apparent attempt to avoid facing Cohen in the second round.

“I don’t know if I’m more disappointed or angry,” said Cohen. “I was confident and felt good. I was in the lead but in one moment I lost it.”

Toumarkin took part in his secondary event, the 100-meter backstroke, on Sunday, but the fact he registered a time almost one second slower than his personal best and finished in 27th place out of 39 doesn’t bode well for his main swim. Toumarkin, who touched the wall in 54.66 seconds, will take part in the 200m back heats on Wednesday, an event in which he finished in seventh place in London 2012, the best-ever finish for an Israeli swimmer at the Olympic Games.

Amit Ivry came 30th out of 44 swimmers in the 100m breaststroke on Sunday, clocking a time of 1:09.42m, almost two seconds slower than her national record.

“I’m really disappointed. I looked at my time at the end of the race and I couldn’t believe it,” said Toumarkin. “I’m in good shape so I expected more from myself.

The 200m back is a different race and I’ll be more comfortable there.”

The oldest member of Israel’s delegation, 37-year-old Shani Bloch, ended the women’s cycling road race in 48th position in a time of 4:02.59 hours.

Late Saturday, Dudi Sela, ranked No. 65 in the world, advanced to the second round of the men’s singles with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Damir Dzumhur (76) of Bosnia.

He will next face the winner of Sunday night’s first round match between David Goffin (13) and Sam Groth (70).

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