In an unprecedented achievement for Israeli judo, Yarden Gerbi on Thursday night won the Rio De Janeiro, Brazil judo world championship in her weight category (139 lbs.). This is the highest ranking ever in international championships for an Israeli athlete.
The 24-year-old judo champ proved last night why she is the no. 1-ranked judoka (judo practitioners), defeating unconditionally every one of her 5 opponents.
By the end of her victorious night, having beaten No. 2-ranked Clarisse Agbegnenou of France—who passed out, literally, in less than one minute—Yarden stepped up to the top of the podium and burst into tears when the national anthem Hatikva began to play.
Yael Arad, Oren Smadja, and Ariel Ze’evi have each won a silver medal in the international judo championships in the past, and Alice Schlesinger has most recently won the bronze in 2009.
A resident of Netanya, Israel, Yarden Gerbi, born July 8, 1989, began training in judo at age 6. She continues bto train to this day in the same club, Meditav Netanya, with the trainer Shani Hershko, who used to coach the Israeli women’s national team.
Gerbi has won the Israeli judo championship twice in a row, and has won the bronze in the 2013 European championship this year, and the silver in 2012.
Gerbi experienced a low in her career back in 2011, when she was eliminated from the world championship in Paris, France, in the second round, and was not included in the Israeli delegation to the Olympic games in London in 2012. She lost her spot to Alice Schlesinger. That Israeli delegation has made history in winning absolutely no medals at all in the games.