Israeli Judoka Golan Pollack Wins Bronze at World Judo Championship

Earlier, Pollack - in the half lightweight under 66-Kg category - had beaten world number one Loic Korval to get into the semifinal.

Uri Talshir
Uri Talshir
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Ukraine's Georgii Zantaraia (white) competes with Israel's Golan Pollack during the men’s qualification match, in the -66kg category at the Judo World Championships in Astana on August 25, 2015.Credit: AFP
Uri Talshir
Uri Talshir

Israeli judoka Golan Pollack took home the bronze in the half lightweight under 66-Kg category at the World Judo Championship in Astana on Tuesday.

Pollack is known for his potential and great talent, as well as for his lack of consistency. In many competitions he almost gets there but trips up and misses winning and attaining significant achievements. On Tuesday morning things went very well for the judoka, ranked 23rd in the world.

In the first round he drew the Spaniard David Ramirez Ramos and was trailing behind due to penalties. However, he managed a Wazari throw and made his way into the second round, facing last year’s bronze medallist Ukrainian Georgii Zantaraia, ranked number one in the world. Their fight was attractive, aggressive and tense. Pollack scored a Wazari right at the opening and did not lose his nerve after taking the lead, maintaining his lead until the end, achieving a great victory and a place in the eighth-finals. His journey continued to the quarter-finals after a tight and exceptional victory over Loic Korval. Pollack was leading by two penalties to one, but in the final minute received a yuko. Was this a déjà vu of his loss in Baku? Not this time. Pollack continued attacking and managed to extract two more shidos from the Frenchman, who reached four penalties and was disqualified.

In the same category, Baruch Shmailov went down in his first match against the Portugese Sergio Oleynik. The young Israeli, who took the bronze medal last year at the World Championship in the under 21 year-old category, was competing for the first time in the adult category. He didn’t manage to create offensive situations and in the last few seconds, while trailing in penalties, he tried to get points any way he could, sustaining a yuko on the way to an early ouster.

Roni Schwartz, in the under-55 Kg category, finished her appearance at the competition rapidly. Fifty seconds into her first match against the Armenian judoka  Zhanna Stankevich the Israeli sustained a yuko and immediately found herself in a choke hold which forced her  to surrender and leave the competition. Gili Cohen, who is ranked tenth in the world in the same category, was placed in the second round by lottery. She defeated Polish judoka Karolina Frankowska with a yuko and went on to the eighth-finals. There she was cruelly ousted, losing by  one point to Italian judoka Odette Giuffrida. She did not make to the consolation round, which is open only to those who lose in the quarter-finals.