Judo / Late Ippon Lands Yekutiel Bronze

Gal Yekutiel came through the repechage rounds Friday to take the bronze medal at the European Championship in Serbia.

Yekutiel, fighting in the under 60 kilo category, lost his opening bout to Albert Techov of Lithuania by a koka and a penalty.

But luckily for Yekutiel the Lithuanian advanced to the semifinals, granting him a place in the repechage.

Yekutiel beat Alexandros Gorteev by a yuko and then downed Maxim Korotun of Ukraine by a waza-ari, before another waza-ari over Laszlo Borjan of Hungary sent him through to the bronze medal bout against Nijat Shikhalazde of Azerbaijan.

The Azeri led with a waza-ari and two kokas to Yekutiel's yuko, but with 12 seconds remaining the Israeli threw Shikhalazde with an ippon to win the bronze.

Yekutiel competed unsuccessfully at the Athens Olympics in 2004, before an injury kept him out of action for over a year.

Friday's bronze gives him a place in the Israeli squad for next summer's Olympics in Beijing, but to confirm his ticket he will either have to finish in the top five at the World Championship in Brazil in September or be ranked among the top nine competitors in Europe in his weight category, which should be all but guaranteed after his performance in Belgrade.

Seven other Israelis were in action over the weekend.

Avisar Sheinman came in seventh in t he under 81 kilo category.

Yoel Razvozov disappointed when he went out in the second round in the under 73 kilo category.

In the women's under 63 class Alice Schelssinger opened with an impressive win over European champion Elisabeth Willerboordse of the Netherlands, but then lost her second round bout to Paulina Rainczuk of Poland.

Three time European gold medalist Arik Ze'evi competes in the under 100 kilo category today.