Abigail Klein Leichman
February 28, 2023, Updated March 2, 2023

Last month saw two major wins for Israelis in martial arts competitions.

Olympic judokas Sagi Muki and Raz Hershko won gold medals — Muki in the men’s under-81kg category and Hershko in the women’s over-78kg category — at the recent Tel Aviv Grand Slam, where 398 competitors from 52 countries gathered.

Two additional female judokas from Israel also took home medals from the event: a silver for Tamar Malca and a bronze for Timna Nelson Levy.

Muki, 30, the 2019 world champion, now has a career total of nine Grand Slam medals. Hershko, 24, most recently took first place in the 2022 Zagreb Grand Prix.

3 Israeli martial artists garner gold medals
Judoka Sagi Muki greeting the crowd after winning a gold medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam 2023. Photo © Gabriela Sabau/IJF

Meanwhile, Shaked Nisimian, 19, won Israel’s first gold medal at an International Mixed Martial Arts World Championship, wresting the under-21 female lightweight champion title from the reigning champion, Ugiloy Jumanova of Uzbekistan, in Serbia on February 16.

Nisimian, who previously won the European title in jiu-jitsu, commented, “This was just a taste of the many exciting moments ahead that will come with God’s help.”

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