In what was supposed to be a big day for Israeli athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, it ended up being one that was mired in disappointment for a number of them, especially for Judoka Sagi Muki.
The 2019 -81kg World Champion was one of the high hopes for the Israeli delegation to not only capture a medal but to also win gold, however, on this day that was not to be. Muki opened the competition well by winning his first bout in the Round of 32 against Brazil’s Eduardo Santos via Ippon in just 1:36 and looked to be heading the right direction. But a tough Round of 16 opponent in Austria’s Shamil Borchashvili gave Muki fits from the get go of their matchup.
Muki had defeated Borchashvili twice this year but looked to have hurt his knee early on in the bout as he favored it after having fallen to the ground. Borchashvili then picked up two penalties which gave the Israeli hope to win the battle. But Muki was unable to find a way to force the Austrian into a third penalty or win by Waza-ari or Ippon once the bout went into the Golden Score overtime period.
With Muki continuously being on the defensive as well as being exhausted, he picked up a pair of penalties as well and finally succumbed to Borchashvili via Waza-ari and send the former World Champion home empty handed from Japan.
“Things just didn’t come together for me,” Muki said after the loss. “The last bout, we both fought so hard and gave it our all, but it just didn’t work out. I didn’t want it to end like this. He threw me down and all of a sudden I was out. One day you’re the world champion and the next, you’re not.”
“A lot of things went on this past year and I continued to train hard in order to come into the Olympics ready to go, it just didn’t work out. I’ll return home and continue on. I have been in these types of moments before and I know what I am capable of. There is no question that I could have brought home an Olympic medal, but Judo is a cruel sport and I knew that.”
Gili Sharir who was making her Olympics debut at the age of 21 was eliminated on penalties in Golden Score in the Round of 32 by Katharina Hecker of Australia. On Wednesday, Li Kochman will take to the mat when he meets David Klammert from the Czech Republic in the -90kg category in the Round of 32.
Over in the pool, 17-year old Anastasia Gorbenko became the first Israeli woman to compete in a swimming final when she took part in the 100m Backstroke. Gorbenko recorded a time of 59:53, 2:06 off the gold medalist Kaylee McKeown who also set an Olympic record.
An hour later, Gorbenko was back in action as she took part in the 200m Individual Medley semifinal which is one of her strongest disciplines. However, Gorbenko’s time of 2:10:70 was good enough for only 10th place and she missed out of advancing to her second final in as many days by only .11.
Over on the Men’s side, Meiron Cheruti placed 29th in the 100m Freestyle qualification with a time of 49.26 which wasn’t good enough to advance to the semifinals while Ron Polonsky finished in 27th place in the 200m Breaststroke with a time of 2:12:71 which saw him eliminated from the competition. The Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Team of Denis Loktev, Daniel Namir, Tomer Frankel and Gal Cohen Groumi were also in action and placed 10th with a time of 7:08:65 which wasn’t good enough to advance to the finals.
In Laser Radial Sailing Shay Kakon placed 39th and 32nd in races 5 and 6 which moved her down to 35th place overall. With a day off on Wednesday, Kakon will be back in the water on Thursday.
Over in Badminton, Ksenia Polikarpova lost her second group stage match up 2-1 to Ngan Yi Cheung from Hong Kong and ended her Olympic appearance.
Wednesday’s schedule is packed for the Israeli athletes who will be competing in the pool, on the judo mat and much more!
4:48 Archery – Itay Shanny v Hiroki Muto
5:00 Judo – Li Kochman v David Klammert Round of 32
5:30 Cycling – Omer Shapira Women’s Time Trial
6:00 Sailing – Yoav Cohen RS:X Race 7,8,9
6:10 Sailing – Katy Spychakov RS:X Race 7,8,9
8:30 Sailing – Noya Baram/Shachar Tibi Women’s 470 Race 1,2
10:00 Archery – Itay Shanny
13:00 Swimming – Andi Murez 100m Freestyle qualification
13:00 Swimming – Anastasia Gorbenko 100m Freestyle qualification
13:25 Swimming – Yakov Toumarkin 200m Backstroke qualification
14:15 Swimming – Gal Cohen Groumi Men’s 200m Individual Medley qualification
14:15 Swimming – Ron Polonsky Men’s 200m Individual Medley qualification
14:34 Swimming – Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay Team