Israeli judoka Yarden Gerbi defeated Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the bronze medal in the women's 63kg weight class, Israel's first medal at the Rio Olympics.
"The medal is for all of Israel, for everyone who supported me and cheered me on," said Gerbi after her victory. "I'm waiting for someone to wake me up. I gave my soul and it paid off. Whoever said you can't succeed in Israel, is wrong."
President Reuven Rivlin spoke with Gerbi following her victory, saying that "all the people here in Israel are excited together with you. We all held our breath and prayed for your success but at the end of the day the one who did it was you, you are simply our champion. Well done. Today you are our heroine."
Gerbi defeated China's Yang Junxia before defeating Tashiro. Earlier Tuesday, Gerbi lost to Brazil's Mariana Silva. During this fight Gerbi bled and required medical attention.
Her match against the Brazilian also stirred condemnation and controversy as the Israeli Judo Federation accused the referee of siding with Silva in an overtime call that could have won Gerbi the match.
On Monday, Israeli judoka Sagi Muki lost to Georgia’s Lasha Shavdatuashvili in the bronze medal match, thus failing to win the first Israeli medal considered to be within reach at the Rio Olympics.
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