May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week: Ya’er Arkovitz

The Jewish Link and Drink Up would like to recognize Ya’er Arkovitz as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The fifth grader at Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy (SAR) won second place at USA Judo Youth Nationals last month and the Bronx championship a few months before that. He has been practicing Judo since age 4. Ya’er first started his Judo career in Israel and continued in America when he and his family moved here, four years ago.

Ya’er, congrats on the second place finish and for being recognized as this week’s Sportstar of the Week! Who is your role model and why?

My Sensei (coach in Japanese) Leo Lopez because he is great at Judo and he teaches great values while practicing, like the value of helping friends, believing in your abilities and sports spirit.

What is your favorite sport?

Judo, obviously. It gives confidence, flexibility and strength. I have practiced Judo since age 4. I started in Israel and continue now at Total Form Fitness Judo Club in White Plains. Judo in Japanese means “the gentle way.” It’s about turning the movement or the force of my opponent to my own advantage and throwing him down.

What is your pregame routine?

Two weeks before a tournament I do three practices of Judo per week (usually I have two) and I go to the gym once a week (for one and a half hours each). Right before I go on the mat, I warm up and I joke around with my dad who says stuff like, “If you don’t get gold, you are walking back home,” which encourages me.

What is your greatest sports accomplishment?

I just won second place at the USA Judo youth nationals competition that took place in Lancing, Michigan on Shabbat March 19 and Sunday March 20. There were around 600 participants in this competition from all states who compete by category of age and weight. I was eligible to compete in two categories but one of them was on Shabbat so we told the organizers I will not do that. I competed and won three of my matches with Ippon, which is the highest score for Judo throw.

Who is your favorite athlete and why?

Israli Judoka Sagi Muki who won the 2019 world championship. I like him because he is Israeli and because I love his Judo.

What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you during a match?

Once I was fighting someone who just froze in the middle of a match.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?

When I won the gold medal at the Bronx championship, in November last year.

What is your earliest sports memory?

I remember the first tournament I participated in Israel. I won third place at age 5.

What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?

Play with friends, read, bike and hike.

What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?

It gives me confidence, I can be a model for my younger siblings.

Please send nominees for an upcoming Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].

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