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August 9, 2016 6:14 pm

Israel Wins First Olympic Medal Since 2008 Games

avatar by JNS.org

Yarden Gerbi (white) competing at the 2015 European games. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Yarden Gerbi (white) competing at the 2015 European games. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org Judoka Yarden Gerbi has become the first Israeli to win a medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gerbi, 27, who was also the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal since 2008, defeated Japan’s Miku Tashiru to earn the bronze medal in the under-73kg judo competition.

Israeli leaders were quick to congratulate Gerbi, with President Reuven Rivlin phoning her to say that “today, you are our hero.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also tweeted: “Yarden, you did it. We’re all proud of you.”

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Following her victory, Gerbi told reporters that she can barely believe her success.

“I’m here to win, to give my heart and soul, and I still can’t believe it. Someone wake me up, I can’t believe it.

“My dream has come true. They say Israelis don’t have the character (to succeed in sports on the world stage), but we do have the character. I gave my life. It paid off. Whoever says Israelis can’t succeed is wrong. It does happen. It does happen,” she added.

Overall Gerbi became the seventh Israeli athlete to win a medal at the Olympics and the second woman to do so after Yael Arad took home a silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

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