Israeli Judokas Nab Silver, Bronze at European Championship

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Tohar Butbul at the European Judo Championship 2019 in Minsk.
Tohar Butbul at the European Judo Championship 2019 in Minsk.Credit: Amit Schussel/The Olympic Committee of Israel

Israeli athlete Tohar Butbul won a silver medal on Saturday at the European Judo Championships, after losing in the men’s -73 kg final match to Kosovo’s Akil Gjakova, adding to two bronze medals won by other Israeli competitors at the Lisbon tournament.

Butbul was ranked first in his category going into the competition, but lost the final after surrendering to a maneuver by his opponent after the match went into overtime. Still, this marks the peak of Butbul’s career achievements so far.

Leading up to the final, Butbul beat Romanian Alexandru Raicu and North Macedonia’s Marko Gusic, and then went on to play against Italy’s Giovanni Esposito in the quarter final and Turkey’s Bilal Ciloglu in the semi-final.

Israel’s leading judoka Sagi Muki, a former gold medalist at the European Championship, lost his quarter final match but ended the tournament in third place after a lengthy repechage fight against Bulgarian Ivaylo Ivanov in the men’s -81 kg category.

On Friday, Israel’s Gefen Primo won her second European Championship bronze medal with a win against Swiss athlete Evelyne Tschopp in the women’s -52 kg category. The two have previously met three times, two of which Primo lost.

On the way to her medal, Primo met Gili Cohen for an all-Israeli quarter final match. Cohen took Primo’s spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games after her showing at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam in February.

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