Israel wins 2 gold medals at Abu Dhabi ju-jitsu competition

Israeli team takes home medals as country erased from map, national anthem not played at international competition.

Gary Willig ,

Ju-jitsu (stock image)
Ju-jitsu (stock image)

The Israeli ju-jitsu team won two gold medals at the Abu Dhabi Ju-Jitsu World Championship Juniors and Aspirants 2018.

Israel was the only country represented at the competition whose national anthem was not played and whose flag was not flown in the main competition hall.

Meshi Rosenfeld, who competed in the under 55 kg. (121 lb.) category won the gold in his division by defeating an opponent from Kazakhstan in the finals.

Nimrod Ryeder, who competed in the under 77 kg (170 lb.) category also won the gold after defeating an opponent from Kyrgyzstan in the finals. Ryeder defeated another Israeli participant, Amir Alroy, in the semifinals. Alroy received the bronze medal.

In addition, Israelis Shalev Hazut and Yarin Chriki won the silver medals in the under 66 kg. (145 lb.) and under 60 kg. (132 lb.), respectively.

Sara Kovaliov, who is deaf, won over the crowd with her inspirational story and skill. The 16-year-old competitor won the silver medal in the under 48 kg. (106 lb.) category. As the Israeli team reached the airport to return to Israel, the head of the local security service which accompanied the team during the competition handed Kovaliov a gift from a local sheih, a fancy watch, Ynet reported.

The Israeli team came home with two gold medals, four silver medals, and seven bronze medals

The event was the second international sports competition in Abu Dhabi in which the Israeli team was not allowed to wear or show the Israeli flag or to have Hatikva played. In October the Israeli delegation to the the Grand Slam Judo competition was forced to compete as as part of the International Judo Federation instead of as Israelis. The jujitsu team was likewise forced to compete under the banner of the Ju-Jitsu International Federation.

The event organizers stated that the Israeli team could not be identified as Israeli due to "security concerns."

However, the Israeli team stated that they were warmly received by the organizers of the event.

Erez Alroy, the head of the Israel Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said: "Hosts went out of their way during the competition to provide us with quality hosting—an excellent hotel, transportation everywhere, separate warm-up area and so on."