Israeli judoka Shira Rishony won a the gold medal for Israel at the Grand Prix Tel Aviv in the under 48 kilogram (105 lbs) category. She was the first to have the final fight after a strong start during the semifinals against Slovenian fighter Marusa Stangar.
Twenty seconds after the fight against Mariana Cerniker at the final, Rishony carried out a successful maneuver which gave her a Wazari. Buoyed by the crowd, she continued with a few nice moves that didn’t yield points. The excellent Cerniker recovered and a minute before the finish almost turned Rishony in an ippon, but the Israeli just managed to get out of it. Forty seconds before the end Rishony received a second penalty, but ten seconds later the judges canceled it.
Twelve seconds to the finish another penalty was handed but then the crowd started counting back the final seconds and roared “Yesh” when the time was up.
“My battles with Cerniker are always strong, I told myself this was war and there’s no way I’m losing,” Rishony said at the end and also spoke about the less successful season she had last year.
“It’s amazing for me to open 2019 with this victory. I took 2018, I thought what was good and what I had to correct and I’m glad it had conseqnences. It think this is my best judo ever.”
“The audience lifted me, gave me a lot of energy. I’m speechless, it was amazing, although I’m still not taking it in. Maybe tomorrow,” she said.
The second Israeli to win a gold medal was also the last to compete – Timna Nelson Levy (up to 57 kilograms). Nelson Levy met the Russian judoka Darya Mezetskaya at the finals and although she was almost knocked down in the first half minute, she obtained a wazari, the second highest score, after 50 seconds. When the battle was lated, Mezetskaya received medical treatment following an injury to her chin.
Immediately after returning bandaged she almost got Levy off balance, but the Israeli managed to stay on her feet. From then on Nelson Levy carried out some interesting ground moves and half a minute before the end received a penalty for passivity. Ten seconds later the audience roared again when the time was up.
Exuberant Nelson Levy raised her arms to the sky and roared “Yes” too, thanking the audience. “ I had a very successful day. It’s not simple to overcome all the noise around with our amazing audience, and I succeeded on focusing and doing what I had to do,” she said at the end.
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