Israel’s Noa Minsker (in white) beat Portugal’s Joana Diogo on her way to a seventh place finish at the World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary..
(photo credit: RAFAL BURZA/EUROPEAN JUDO UNION)
With Olympic medalists Yarden Gerbi and Ori Sasson both absent, the World Judo Championships, which got under way in Budapest, Hungary on Monday, are a perfect opportunity for Israel’s up-and-coming judokas to prove their worth.
Gerbi and Sasson, as well as Olympians Sagi Muki and Golan Pollack, are sitting out the championships in Budapest either due to injury or because they have yet to return to top form after participating in the Rio Olympics last summer.
Israel has nevertheless sent 12 representatives to Budapest, some of which are targeting a place on the podium, while others are mainly aiming to gain experience.
Three Israelis participated in the first day of action on Monday, with Noa Minsker impressing on her way to a seventh-place in the women’s under 48-kilogram event. After beginning the day with two wins, Minsker was beaten in the quarterfinals by world No. 1 and the bronze medalist from Rio, Otgontsetseg Galbadrakh of Kazakhstan. Minsker’s day then came to an end when she was defeated in her first bout in the repechage by Serbia’s Milica Nikolic.
Also in the under-48kg competition, Israel’s Shira Rishony reached the last 16, losing to European Championship runner-up Irina Dolgova of Russia in a tight fight decided on a golden score.
Daniel Ben-David was on his way to a shock win over Rio bronze medalist Diyorbek Urozboev of Uzbekistan in the first round of the men’s under-60kg competition, only to lose by an ippon in the closing seconds after being pinned to the mat by his opponent for 20 seconds.