On the second day of the 2023 Tel Aviv Grand Slam, the crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of local heroes, former world champion Sagi Muki.
Muki was looking back at his best in a venue that was good for him, and after a stunning semi-final win, the crowd dared to believe it.
And the building couldn’t hold back the roar of the crowd when he beat Turkish Veda Albayrak just 12 seconds later to win his first gold medal since his 2019 world title victory.
Receiving his medal from Moshe Ponte, President of the Israel Judo Association, Muki has a message for the fans.
“I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “Seeing this, the love of the Israeli crowd is very important to me. Knowing that they appreciate my way. And for all the effort, all the hard work, all that is worth it, their support, their love.”
More success for Canada
At -63kg, Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard’s impressive lever lock in Cuba’s Maylin Del Toro Carvajal has brought Canada another gold.
IJF Director General Vlad Marinescu was present to present the medals.
“A lot of mind games,” Beauchemin-Pinard later said. “I think I’m working on it and I see the mistake I made in Paris and fix it here and it worked pretty well.”
Swiss Nils Stump completed a day full of surprises by making it to the -73kg final. There, he defeated German veteran Igor Wandtke by the golden score in extra time to win his second Grand Slam title.
George Teseleanu, the guest of the IJF, presented him with his medal.
And under -70kg, France’s Margaux Pinot beat Germany’s Miriam Butkereit to take the gold medal. The medal was presented by IJF Guest Cosmin Balcacean.