Israel wins first medal of 2020 Olympics

Avishag Semberg wins bronze in 49kg taekwondo


Israel won its first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics at the weekend when Avishag Semberg took the bronze at the 49kg taekwondo event.

Semberg, 19, born and raised in Gedera, in central Israel, is not only the youngest Israeli to win an Olympic medal, but also the first to win a taekwondo match at the Olympics.

She is also the holder of Israel’s 10th ever Olympic medal — joining fellow Israelis in the sports of judo, canoeing and sailing.

The teenager rushed to the stands after her win to hug Yael Arad, who won her Olympic medal for judo at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper was also there to applaud Semberg.

She said: “I have an Olympic medal at 19, it’s a dream come true.

I still haven’t fully grasped what I did here — [the fact I won] an Olympic medal is not yet absorbed in my head. I thank the many people who played a part in my journey”. Semberg was congratulated after her win by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who told her that the whole of Israel was proud of her achievement.

President Isaac Herzog also spoke to the athlete, telling her she was “an inspiration” to many young girls and boys in Israel as to what could be achieved through hard work. He said: “It’s an honour. You’ve brought such pride to the state of Israel”.

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