Israel’s second medal in Rio comes again from judo

Marcus Moraes

Israel's Or Sasson, left, trying to shake hands with Egypt's Islam Elshehaby after their Olympic judo match in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 12, 2016.(Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel’s Or Sasson, left, trying to shake hands with Egypt’s Islam Elshehaby after their Olympic judo match in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 12, 2016.(Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Israeli judoka Ori Sasson won a bronze medal after defeating Cuba’s Alex Garcia Mendoza in the men’s judo over-100 kilogram competition.

The Friday night win brings the Israeli delegation a second medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, two bronze medals in judo.

Sasson qualified for the consolation round after losing the semifinal against seven-time world champion Teddy Reiner of France, who went on to take the gold medal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sasson in a phone call on Saturday night that: “Every boy and girl saw not only a great athlete but a man with values.”

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“You showed the true face of Israel, its beautiful face,” Netanyahu said in a phone call from Jerusalem that was aired live on Israel’s Channel 2.

On Thursday, Sasson beat Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby, who refused to shake his hand and walked away to boos from the crowd as the Israeli’s arm was outstretched, underscoring the neighboring countries’ strained relations 37 years after signing a peace agreement.

On Aug. 9, Yarden Gerbi conquered Israel’s first medal in Rio, a bronze in the women’s 63-kg judo competition. Gerbi defeated Miku Tashiro of Japan for Israel’s first Olympic medal since the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The last Olympics in which Israel won two medals were in 2004.

One day before, Israel narrowly missed another medal in judo when Sagi Muki lost to Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia in the bronze medal match.