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Sagi Muki is the first male world champion for Israel

28 Aug 2019 14:30

   IJF Gabriela Sabau / International Judo Federation

An exciting tournament U81kg at the World Championships with Sagi Muki as the new World Champion. In the final he defeated belgian prodigy Matthias Casse another time. Muki and Casse know each-other inside out but again Muki was able to take this match and captured the first world title for his country. Belgium is left with empty hands, of six world finals they lost all six.

Not in the final was Iran's Saeid Mollaei who qualified for the semi final but lost to Matthias Casse. It was a free ticket to the final where Mollaei didn't showed his best, as he may still be the best. Perfect randori in the semi final with no serious attacks from the Iraian who was for sure instructed to not fight Israel's Sagi Muki in the final. Mollaei got caught by an armlock of Casse that the Iranian "offered" but we couldn't have done it any better. It was sad as Mollaei wants to fight anyone but finished fifth afterall after his loss against Georgian talent Luka Maisuradze. He claimed the first medal at World Championships since the Tchrikishvili era. 

The second bronze medal was for Antoine Valois-Fortier who's height was a big advance for the skilled Canadian who kept the moral of the Canadian in optimal form. Gold and bronze in two days for the Canadian team that set an all time best.

The tournament knew a few surprises as 2018 World Championships runner-up Sotaro Fujiwara was caught by surprise in the second round in his first contest. Same counts for Frank de Wit of the Netherlands who lost to Medickson Del Orbe in his first contest. Aslan Lappinagov was also expected to shine but he failed in his first contest and it triggered a few surprising names like Sharofiddin Boltaboev of Uzbekistan. He and Dominic Ressel finished seventh  whilst Egyptian outsider Mohamed Abdelaal reached the semi finals but finished third after his loss against Valois-Fortier. 

Proud moment for Israel with the first world gold since 2013 where Yarden Gerbi became the first to hear the Hatikva on the highest podium. His coach Oren Smadga lost the world final in 1991 in Barcelona and he gave Muki the right spirit and key to the gold medal. Muki celebrated the gold with many Israelian fans, top athletes, coaches and referees from his country. 

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  • Matthias Casse (BEL), Sagi Muki (ISR) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Sagi Muki (ISR) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation
  • Sagi Muki (ISR) - World Championships Tokyo (2019, JPN) - © IJF Gabriela Sabau, International Judo Federation

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