Israeli Olympic medalist Ori Sasson to retire from judo

The Israeli judoka is one of two Israeli athletes to have won two Olympic medals in their career.

ORI SASSON was the last Israeli to win a medal at Olympics, capturing the bronze in the judo men's heavyweight competition at the 2016 Games in Rio (photo credit: REUTERS)
ORI SASSON was the last Israeli to win a medal at Olympics, capturing the bronze in the judo men's heavyweight competition at the 2016 Games in Rio
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Israeli Olympic medalist Ori Sasson will announce his retirement from competitive judo on Thursday, Israeli media reported on Tuesday afternoon.

The 31-year-old judoka will hold a press conference later this week to call time on his highly successful career, which is highlighted by two bronze medals in the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo respectively, the latter making him only the second Israeli to win two Olympic medals after windsurfer and gold medalist Gal Fridman.

Sasson won his first medal by beating Cuba's Alex García Mendoza in the 100+ kg. repechage contest after losing in the semi-final to the eventual winner, French judoka Teddy Riner. 

His second Olympic medal came when the Israeli mixed team beat the Russian Olympic Committee to win bronze in the first-ever judo team competition in the Olympic Games.

Ori Sasson (credit: ASSAF KLIGER)Ori Sasson (credit: ASSAF KLIGER)

He won his Olympic medals under the tutelage of another Olympic medalist in Oren Smadja, who was the first Israeli judoka to win a medal in the 1992 games in Barcelona.

Beyond his Olympic success, Sasson also won five gold medals in five Judo Grand Prix competitions from 2016 to 2020 and a gold medal at the 2009 Maccabiah Games held in Tel Aviv.

According to reports, Sasson has already been offered a coaching role within the Israel Judo Association after he signaled his intention to retire from competition. He will serve as a mentor for young judokas in the national team, Sport 5 reported.

"Ori is an asset and assets must be retained," the association's president Moshe Ponte reportedly told Sport 5.

Sasson is the third Israeli athlete who competed in last summer's Olympics in Japan to have retired from competitive sport, after Israeli gymnast Alex Shatilov and rhythmic gymnast and gold medalist Linoy Ashram, who announced her retirement in March.