Gerbi's a bright note in gloomy start for Israel


Yarden Gerbi salvaged a disappointing start to the Olympics for the Israeli squad by winning the bronze medal in the women's under 63 kilogram judo competition.

This was Israel's eighth medal in Olympic history and Gerbi became the first woman to win a medal since Yael Arad won the country's first-ever medal in 1992.

Gerbi, 27, lost a close fought contest in the quarter final against Brazil's Mariana Silva with Israeli officials feeling that the referee had favoured the home fighter.

"After the quarter final defeat I was gutted," said Gerbi. "If the tournament wasn't here, I wouldn't have lost.

But Gerbi picked herself up and beat China's Jang Yuxia and Japan's Miku Tashiro to win the consolation competition and bronze.

"The squad hasn't done so well but this medal is for the entire squad which has put so much effort into this. I hope this gives us all a boost. I'm so proud to represent Israel. I don't think my parents have slept for the past month but after a difficult year this is a dream come true."

Gerbi brightened up an otherwise gloomy Olympics for Israel's squad.

Sagi Muki, the country's other great judo hope, won three bouts in the men's under 73 kilogram category, before losing in the semi-finals to Azerbaijan's Rustam Orujov. He then lost in the bronze medal competition to Georgia's Lasha Shavdatuashvili.

In tennis, Dudi Sela lost 3-6 3-6 to Belgum's David Goffin after beating Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur 6-4 6-4 in the first round.

In windsurfing Maya Davidovich moved towards the medal frame in fifth place half way through the women's competition, but Shahar Zubari, the last Israeli to win a medal in Beijing in 2008, was languishing in 19th place.

There were disappointing performances from gymnast Alex Shatilov, marksman Sergy Rikhter and swimmer Gal Nevo who had all been tipped to reach their respective finals but failed to do so.

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