Judo Grand Slam Zeevi Virtually Locks Up Olympic Bid With Bronze

Arik Zeevi nearly wrapped up a bid to compete in his fourth consecutive Olympics yesterday. The judoka who won the bronze medal in Athens 2004, won a bronze medal yesterday at the Grand Slam in Qingdao, China, in the 100-kilo category. En route to the semifinal, Zeevi defeated his Moroccan opponent by an ippon and Dimitri Peters of Germay by a yuko. In the quarterfinals, Zeevi got past the Olympic champion, Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia. However, Zeevi succumbed on points to South Korean Hee-Tae Hwang, who eventually won the gold medal.

"I am pleased to finish the year with a medal and am happy that I beat my Mongolian rival," said Zeevi after the competition. "It's a shame about the semifinal. I'll try to keep improving. The competition gave me confidence, especially because I didn't come here in great shape. Anyway, I need to be better for London."

Judoka Arik ZeeviAP

Zeevi earns an NIS 8,000 bonus for earning the bronze.

Competing in the same category, fellow Israeli Uri Sasson lost in the first round. Asaf Zohar, competing in the over-100-kilo category, also lost in the first round.