Judo / Grand Slam / Zeevi Virtually Locks Up Olympic Bid With Bronze

Arik Zeevi nearly wrapped up a bid to compete in his fourth consecutive Olympics yesterday. The judoka who won the bronze medal in Athens 2004, won a bronze medal yesterday at the Grand Slam in Qingdao, China, in the 100-kilo category. En route to the semifinal, Zeevi defeated his Moroccan opponent by an ippon and Dimitri Peters of Germay by a yuko. In the quarterfinals, Zeevi got past the Olympic champion, Tuvshinbayar Naidan of Mongolia. However, Zeevi succumbed on points to South Korean Hee-Tae Hwang, who eventually won the gold medal.

"I am pleased to finish the year with a medal and am happy that I beat my Mongolian rival," said Zeevi after the competition. "It's a shame about the semifinal. I'll try to keep improving. The competition gave me confidence, especially because I didn't come here in great shape. Anyway, I need to be better for London."

Arik Zeevi - AP - 18.12.11

Zeevi earns an NIS 8,000 bonus for earning the bronze.

Competing in the same category, fellow Israeli Uri Sasson lost in the first round. Asaf Zohar, competing in the over-100-kilo category, also lost in the first round.