Israeli Judoka Peter Paltchik Wins Gold in European Championship Finals

Missing Sagi Maki out on injury, Peter Paltchik and Tal Flicker score a resounding win for Israel in first European meet after the coronavirus hiatus

Itamar Katzir
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Peter Paltchik reacts after winning against Russian Arman Adamian during the men's under 100kg weight category final match of the European Judo Championship 2020, Prague, November 21, 2020.
Peter Paltchik reacts after winning against Russian Arman Adamian during the men's under 100kg weight category final match of the European Judo Championship 2020, Prague, November 21, 2020.Credit: MICHAL CIZEK - AFP
Itamar Katzir

Israeli judoka Peter Paltchik achieved the accomplishment of his career on Saturday, by winning the gold medal at the European Championships in Prague, in the under 100 kg weight class.

competed against Russia’s Arman Adamian and dominated from the outset. It was a close race throughout with no decision until 50 seconds in when the Israeli threw his rival over on his side, earning him his first European Championship victory.

Between Paltchik’s gold and ’s silver, in the under 66 kg class, Israel scored at its first European contest after the coronavirus hiatus.

In the absence of an injured , Peter Paltchik competed as the highest ranking Israeli ever in his weight class. He proved why he deserved that ranking on the last day of the competition, with a tremendous achievement, winning four successive matches before the final.

Israel's Peter Paltchik (white) competes with Bulgarian Boris Georgiev during the men's under 100kg weight category quarter final at the European Judo Championship 2020, Prague, November 21, 2020.
Israel's Peter Paltchik (white) competes with Bulgarian Boris Georgiev during the men's under 100kg weight category quarter final at the European Judo Championship 2020, Prague, November 21, 2020.Credit: MICHAL CIZEK - AFP

Paltchik opened his second match with a victory after nine minutes by an ippon against Ireland’s Benjamin Fletcher. In the third round, he defeated Latvia’s Jevgenijs Borodavko on points and in the quarter finals he defeated Boris Georgiev of Bulgaria with a quick ippon. In the semifinals, he confronted Varlam Liparteliani of Georgia, a silver medalist at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and a five medal winner in world championships. Paltchik executed a waza-ari through a brilliant maneuver, keeping his rival on the mat until the final gong.

congratulated Paltchik: “Dear Peter, we are proud of your achievement which is a result of determination and persistence and expect to celebrate with you back home. It’s exciting to see the Israeli flag on the podium, congratulations Peter, to your coach Oren Smadja and to the entire staff.”

The other two Israeli competitors had a much less successful day. Or Sasson, the Olympic medalist at Rio (in the over 100 kg weight class) opened by defeating Maciek Sarnacki of Poland in two rounds but lost on penalties against Georgia’s Levani Matiashvili. Li Kochman (in the 90 kg weight class) a silver medalist in the 2019 European Championships, was defeated in the first round by Serbian Nemanja Majdov. Itay Golan, another competitor in the same weight class, lost as well in the first round to Hungarian competitor Krisztian Toth.

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