Israel's judo team won two medals Sunday in the World Judo Championship games being held in Tbilisi, Georgia. Ori Sasson won a gold medal for his performance in the 100 kilo and under group, and Assaf Chen won a bronze medal for his performance in the 81 kilo group.
Chen beat competitors from Russia, Armenia and Hungary to get to his medal, but was unable to progress further; he had been scheduled to fight against an Iranian judo expert, who refused to enter the ring when he found out he was scheduled to fight an Israeli. Similarly, Sasson's award was marred by a another Iranian's intransigent refusal to have anything to do with Israel; an Iranian who was set to receive a bronze chose to forgo the honor, rather than get on stage with an Israeli to get the prize.
Also winning a gold medal in an earlier contest was Israel's Sagi Muki.
Speaking after the awards ceremony, Israeli team coach Oren Smadja said that “it is a shame that the Iranians mix politics with sports. Our team is prepared to face any challengers, any time and any place.” He added that he was very proud of the team. “Three medals at a world championship are a testimony to the hard work this team has put in. I am pleased with these results,” he added.