Shalom Life | August 31, 2014

Israeli Is Runner-Up in Judo World Championship

World champion Yarden Gerbi, 25, wins silver after losing to France's Clariss Agvenino

By: Daniel Koren

Published: August 28th, 2014 in Sports » World

In August 2013, Israel's Yarden Gerbi - who had by that time won the Israeli championship five times - won the prestigious Judo World Championship title in Rio De Janeiro after defeating each of her five opponents, making her the first Israeli ever to win a gold medal in the tournament.

Now 25, Gerbi was given the chance to defend her title during the 2014 Judo World Championships, after beating Japan's Tashiro in four minutes during the semi-finals. The final battles of the championship took place today (Thursday) in Chiblansk, Russia and unfortunately, saw Gerbi lose her world title to France's Clariss Agvenino, who has significantly improved since last year's competition, where she placed silver after losing to Gerbi.

In that battle, Gerbi had defeated Agvenino after 43 seconds.

The Israeli judoka champion still took the tournament's second-highest honor, earning the silver medal.

Gerbi reportedly lost the match after only a minute and a half. While she was irked at losing her title, and this year's championship, she remains positive about her success in the sport.

“She just got ahead of me, it's annoying and irritating," said Gerbi after losing the final match. On winning the semi's, she attested the victory to maintaining a positive mindset. "I was able to prove to myself that I was stubborn. I succeeded in proving to myself that it is not over till it's over."

The 20-year-old Tashiro ended up taking home the bronze.

Gerbi, born in Netanya to a fairly wealthy family, dropped out of high school to focus on Judo. "I remember times we had, for example to pay for trips abroad," her father, Shmulik Gerbi, said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 News last year. "I could never have foreseen a situation in which the travel was funded for us, at least in part, and I definitely did not know how it would end.”

During the 2012 London Olympics, the young judoka champion lost to Alice Schlesinger.

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