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January 15, 2021 2:28 pm

Israeli Judoka Peter Paltchik Wins Bronze in Qatar Tournament, Was Motivated by Antisemitism He Faced


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Peter Paltchik holding up the bronze medal he won at the Masters Tournament in Qatar on Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Provided.

Israeli judoka Peter Paltchik won bronze at the International Judo Federation’s (IJF) 2021 World Judo Masters in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.

Paltchik, 29, took home the medal in the under-100 kg division on the final day of the tournament following his victory over Azerbaijani judoka Elmar Gasimov, one of the “toughest rivals” in their category, the Israeli athlete told The Algemeiner Friday.

“Every fight is like a clash of titans,” Paltchik explained. “There are no easy draws and no easy fights in this tournament.” The opponents fought for almost 40-minutes in a bout that would typically last 4-5 minutes, Paltchik added. At one point in their fight, Gasimov grabbed Paltchik’s arm and almost tore his shoulder, but the latter eventually succeeded in getting Gasimov on his back.

This is Paltchik’s first win in the Masters tournament, to which only 32 judokas who have ranked highly in different categories worldwide are invited to compete. Varlam Liparteliani from Georgia took home the gold, and the silver was given to Zelym Kotsoiev from Azerbaijan. Russia’s Arman Adamian also won a bronze medal.

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Paltchik took gold in the European Judo Championships’ under-100 kg division in Prague in Nov. 2020. He also has gold medals from the 2020 Paris Grand Slam, 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, 2020 European Judo Championships and four Grand Prix tournaments.

The Israeli athlete posted a short clip on Instagram following his bout with Gasimov and, showing that there is no bad blood between the two opponents, the Azeri fighter commented on the video saying, “Crazy Fight. Congratulations Bro! You Are Champ.”

On Jan. 9, days before the tournament began, Paltchik posted on Twitter a video of him standing outside in Doha, on the property of his hotel, and captioned the clip “Welcome to Qatar.” Soon after, the comments section was filled with hate messages directed toward the athlete, such as “YOU ALL ARE NOOOT WELCOME IN QATAR! WE DON’T WANT ANYONE OF YOU IN OUR BELOVED COUNTERY (sic)!!!” Many reiterated the same message and more than one Twitter user posted a video that shows the burning of Israeli flags.

Qatar’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani recently said that the Gulf nation will not be establishing relations with the Jewish state.

Paltchik told The Algemeiner that the hate he faced on social media after uploading the video “gave me more motivation to win,” and he used it as “fuel” to be victorious and represent his country to the best of his ability.

The judoka will next compete in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, which will begin Feb. 18.

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