Historic First: Abu Dhabi plays Israel’s anthem, Hatikvah, for Gold Metal Winner

First Sagi Muki on Sunday, and again today Peter Paltchik, the second Israeli judoka who succeeded nabbing the gold medal at Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament, had the honor to stand as Hatikvah was played for all to hear.

By Oren Aharoni


The Israeli national anthem— Hatikvah—was played for the second day in a row in Abu Dhabi after semi heavyweight judoka Peter Paltchik had won the gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam judo tournament on Monday.

Paltchik nabbed the gold after bearting Azerbaijan’s Elmar Gasimov.

Peter Paltchik, 2nd Israeli top winner, receives his Gold medal on Monday. – Photo: IJF

Paltchik won the Wazaari (the second highest score a judoka can achieve) 29 seconds after the competition went into Golden Score (when the clock is reset to match-time, and the first judoka to achieve any score wins), defeating 2017 Bronze medalist Gasimov.

The Israeli judoka, who automatically went to the second round of the tournament, competed against Grigori Minaskin from Estonia and after a close fight, which lasted 35 seconds into the Golden Score, he scored an ippon. In the next round he beat Latvian judoka Yogens Bordovko.

In the semi-finals, Paltchik won Germany’s Karl Richard Frey after a nerve-wrecking fight, which ended after almost three minutes into the Golden Score.

Paltchik is the fourth Israeli judoka to win a medal at the 2018 Grand Slam tournament, after Sagi Muki won the gold medal on Sunday and Gili Cohen, Baruch Shamilov and Timna Nelson Levy won the bronze medal on Saturday.

Sports Minister Regev joins Gold Medal winner Sagi Muki at the first ever medal awarding ceremony when the Israeli National Anthem, Hatikva was played in Abu Dhabi. – Photo: Israel Judo Association

In previous years, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam prevented the Israeli team from competing with state symbols. When the Israeli Judoka Tal Flicker won gold in the 2017 Grand Slam, the Israeli anthem was not played, but rather the International Judo Federation (IJF) anthem sounded in the background.

This year an agreement was reached and the Israeli team was allowed compete with its national symbols. However, the competition organizers avoided raising the flags of the countries participating at the tournament, apparently since they preferred not to raise the Israeli flag.


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