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Israel Olympic Highlights

Israeli Athlete Makes History With Country’s First Olympic Gold in Gymnastics

(JNS) Artem Dolgopyat won Israel’s first Olympic gold medal in artistic gymnastics on Sunday, August 1, the country’s second-ever Olympic gold.

Dolgopyat beat Spanish gymnast Rayderley Zapata in a tiebreaker after both were awarded a score of 14.933 in the event finals. The judges awarded Dolgopyat the win due to his slightly more difficult routine, according to AP.

Dolgopyat’s win comes after the Israeli judo team won bronze in the mixed judo team event in Tokyo. The team beat Russia 4:1 and Brazil 4:2.

It was Israel’s second medal in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and its 11th Olympic medal overall.

Avishag Semberg Takes Bronze In Israel’s First-Ever Olympic Medal in Taekwondo

(JNS) Israeli athlete Avishag Semberg won a bronze medal in taekwondo, Israel’s first at the Tokyo games, its first in taekwondo and its 10th Olympic medal. Semberg, 19, defeated Turkey’s Rukiye Yıldırım 27-22 in the flyweight (49 kilogram) category.

Israel’s Baseball Dreams at Olympics End as Team Falls To Dominican Republic

(Combined sources) Team Israel fell to the Dominican Republic 7-6 on Tuesday, August 3, dashing their Olympic dreams and sending the team home from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics finishing fifth in a field of six.

The team was leading 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth until a clutch ninth inning hit by former Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista knocked in the winning run, completing a ninth-inning rally and knocking off Team Israel.

Israel took the 6-5 lead on a Danny Valencia two-run homer at the top of the eighth but Red Sox’ prospect Johan Mieses opened the bottom of the ninth with a homer for the Dominican Republic before one-time Tigers great Melky Cabrera hit a single.

Israel’s closing pitcher, David Sharabi, forced Gustavo Nunez to ground out, leaving Perez on third before Jose Bautista got his chance.

This follows a team loss to South Korea 1-11 on Monday, August 2.

On Sunday, August 1, the team trounced world No. 5 Mexico 12-5 in a “win-or-go-home” game, producing a tournament-high dozen runs and 15 hits against a Mexican side traditionally known for its pitching.

Israel’s Artistic Swimmers Fail to Reach Finals

(TOI and combined sources) Israeli synchronized swimmers Eden Blecher and Shelly Bobritsky dove into the water in Tokyo on Monday, August 2, for the artistic swimming duet free routine qualifying round, in which they placed 16th overall out of the 22 teams who competed in the free routine.

On Tuesday, the two women hit the pool again for the qualifying round of the technical routine; their combined scores from the two events would determine if they make it to the finals the following day. Their Tuesday routine saw them place 15th out of 21 competing teams, leaving them 26.5 points behind the first place ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) team.

Israeli Judoka Praises Saudi Opponent for ‘Bravery’ in Face Of Calls to Boycott Match

(Israel Hayom via JNS) Despite heavy pressure to boycott her scheduled match against Israel’s Raz Hershko, judoka Tahani al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia chose to face off against Hershko in the women’s 78 kg. category of the Tokyo Olympics.

Hershko beat Al-Qahtani, but went on to be eliminated from the Tokyo Games. After the match, Hershko and Al-Qahtani shared a warm, non-combative embrace.

“We shook hands and hugged; we talked about the match, about the situation in her country,” Hershko said. “I told her I understood, and that she was brave. I’m happy she eventually stood up, despite everything, and fought like she should. I’m happy that the sport won out.”

Iranian Judo Defector Mollaei Dedicates Olympics Silver Medal to Israel

(JNS) Iranian defector Saeid Mollaei, who now represents Mongolia, dedicated his silver medal to the State of Israel after the match at the Tokyo Olympics.

“This medal is also dedicated to Israel, and I hope Israelis are happy with this achievement,” said Mollaei, according to Israel’s Kan news.

The International Judo Federation suspended Iran for four years in May (backdated to start in 2019) for attempting to prevent its athletes from competing against Israelis. Iran’s actions against Israeli competitors made headlines when Mollaei left his team in 2019 and was granted refugee status in Germany, saying he was forced to lose matches to avoid facing Israeli athletes.

Iranian Judoka, Israeli Coach Record Message About Peace, Friendship in Sports

(JNS) Iranian judoka Vahid Sarlak and Israel’s national women’s judo coach Shani Hershko filmed a message about keeping politics out of sports at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“I am next to Israeli athletes. I have a great message for you. They really love Iranians,” Sarlak said at the start of the video, which was shared on Twitter by Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad.

Hershko then told viewers, “We like Iranian people. We are friends. We can do many things together, to work together. For me, we are like brothers, like one family.”

The two men then hugged before Sarlak said, “Sports is sports, not politics. We don’t care about politics. We care about people, to smile, to be happy, and to do judo and fight on the tatami. Then you are friends.”

Second Judoka Refuses To Compete Against Israeli Opponent in Tokyo Olympics

(JNS) A second judoka dropped out of the Olympic Games in Tokyo in order to avoid facing an opponent from Israel.

Sudan’s Mohamed Abdalrasool had weighed in for his match against Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul in the 73-kilogram division but did not show up for the bout, reported The Guardian. The International Judo Foundation and Sudanese Olympic officials did not provide a reason why Abdalrasool missed the match.

Abdalrasool was supposed to face Algerian Fethi Nourine in an earlier round, but Nourine also pulled out of the Olympics. The Algerian Olympic Committee also withdrew Nourine and his coach’s accreditation, and plans to send them home.

Israeli Runner Finishes Women’s 5000m Final in 10th Place

(TOI) Israeli runner Selamawit Dagnachew Teferi finished 10th in the finals of the 5000m women’s race on Monday, August 2, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

With a result of 14:54.39, Teferi came 10th out of 15 competitors in the finals. In the qualifying race on Friday, July 30, Teferi set a new national Israeli record with a finishing time of 14:53.43.

Sailing Duo Qualify for Medal Race

(Jpost) Israeli Olympic sailors Shahar Tibi and Noya Bar Am qualified for the women’s Two Person Dinghy 470 medal race on Tuesday morning, August 3.

In the final two races prior to the medal race, the Israeli duo achieved sixth and 13th place finishes, placing them at 10th overall.

Despite qualifying for the final medal race, it is unlikely for the sailing duo to reach the podium, due to the high amount of penalty points amassed compared to their competitors.

Israeli Athlete Knyazyeva-Minenko
Places Sixth in Women’s Triple Jump Final

(Jpost) Hanna Minenko competed in the Triple Jump final as she looked to win her first Olympic medal. Despite recording her season-best jump of 14.60 meters, it wasn’t enough to take a place on the podium as Minenko finished the competition in sixth place.

Minenko had booked her place in the final with a distance of 14.36m in the qualification round, which marked the third time that the Ukrainian native advanced to the Triple Jump Olympic Final.

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