On day two of the 2023 Tel Aviv Grand Slam, the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of their local hero, former world champion, Sagi Muki.
Muki was looking back to his best at a venue that’s been good to him and after a stunning semi-final victory, the crowd dared to believe.
And the building couldn’t contain the roars of the crowd when after just 12 seconds he secured victory over Turkey’s Veda Albayrak – and his first gold medal since his world championship triumph in 2019.
-81kg gold medalist
After receiving his medal from Moshe Ponte, the President of the Israeli Judo Association, Muki had a message for the fans
“I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “To see this, the love from the Israeli crowd is so important to me. To know that they appreciate my way. And all the effort, all the hard work, everything it’s worth for them, for their support, for their love”
More success for Canada
At -63kg, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard’s impressive armlock on Cuba’s Maylin Del Toro Carvajal gave Canada yet another gold.
Vlad Marinescu, the IJF Director General, was on hand to award the medals.
“It’s a lot of mental games,” said Beauchemin-Pinard afterwards. “So I think I work on that and see the error I did in Paris, and correct it here, and it worked pretty well.”
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Switzerland’s Nils Stump completed a day of surprises by getting to the -73kg final. There he overcame German veteran Igor Wandtke in a golden score extra time period to win his second Grand Slam title.
George Teseleanu, a guest of the IJF, awarded him his medal.
And at under -70kgs, France’s Margaux Pinot took gold with victory over Germany’s Miriam Butkereit. IJF Guest Cosmin Balcacean gave her her medal.