Abigail Klein Leichman
February 28, Updated March 2

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.”