So Close: Israeli Judoka Loses Crown in World Cup Final, Finishes With Silver (VIDEO)
Israeli Judoka Yarden Gerbi (63kg), 25, of Netanya, on Thursday lost the final round at the Judo World Cup, and her world title to Clarisse Agbegnenou of France, at a match held in Russia.
“I have mixed feelings,” Gerbi told Israeli Army radio. But, “I shouldn’t assume that I’d win the world Judo championship twice in a row,” she admitted.
Gerbi won gold in Rio De Janeiro last year.
“When I made my decision, I knew it was going to be my profession…” Gerbi said of her career in an interview in January with the European Judo Union.
“As a young girl of course, judo was hobby and I was playing basketball too, until the age of 14 when the two together became too much,” said Gerbi, who began her career at the age of 6. “I had to choose. When I made my decision, I knew it was going to be my profession.”
Agbegnenou, who Gerbi beat for the gold in 2013, is a very close friend, too.
“I know Clarisse for a good few years, but I think we became really good friends in the last two years,” she said.
“December, 2011 in Japan was the first time when we actually spent time together and that’s where it all began… Later on, we fought each other in Dusseldorf 2012, where she won. The same night we went to celebrate together and we spoke about our friendship. Even though she won, I felt that I like this girl and at the party we already forgot about the competition and just focused on enjoying the evening… By May, 2012, we went for holiday together in Martinique with two others friends, which since than continued to be the same way.”
And as to her top three wishes: “to be happy , to be healthy and to be an Olympic champion.”
Watch Gerbi in action in 2013: