Israel’s Arik Ze’evi makes history, wins European judo championship for fourth time
Huge achievement for Israel: Arik Ze’evi, Israel’s top judo wrestler for more than a decade now, won the European judo championship in his class for the fourth time Saturday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Ze’evi Saturday and congratulated him on his achievement.
“You touched all of us,” Netanyahu said. “You put on a show on behalf of the state of Israel; you brought us great honor and hope.”
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres also conveyed his well-wishes, writing that he is “filled with amazement and appreciation over this wonderful gold medal win.”
Ze’evi won the gold medal after defeating Levan Jorjoliani from Georgia in the under-100 kg category at the championship, held in Russia this year.
The victory marked the ninth medal in Ze’evi’s illustrious career, as the veteran 35-year-old athlete prepares to embark on the Olympic championship while in top form. Ze’evi already won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Ze’evi’s medal was the fourth won by Israel’s team at the European championship.
In 2011, Ze’evi won a gold medal in Moscow’s Judo Grand Slam. During that competition, Ze’evi was snubbed by an Egyptian judo wrestler, who refused to shake the Israeli athlete’s hand after the latter’s victory.
By Oren Aharoni
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the story