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Zabgreb GP Day 1 - Israel's strong showing, American Hardware, IJF's improved experience

3 Mats, 3 Israelis competing
I captured an interesting moment earlier today during the Zagreb Grand Prix. As I watching the matches streamed on YouTube, There were 3 Israeli women competing simultaneously - poor Shani Hershko (the Israeli women's national coach). The commentators on the broadcast also spoke a bit about the rise of the Israeli Judo team of late, especially the Women. Unfortunately, the Israeli Women's team today didn't perform as well as we would hope - they finished just off of the medal round with two 7th place finishes, and a 5th (with a further two women being knocked out early). The men's team finished a bit better with Tal Flicker and Baruch Shmailov taking Gold and Bronze, respectively, in the Men's -66kg.

Overall, Israel has been progressively improving it's Judo, and unlike in the past where they may have had one or two competitors who had a chance at World or Olympic hardware (think Oren Smada, Yael Arad, Arik Ze'evi), they now have a handful of people who have a shot at a medal. Currently 6 Israelis rank in the top 10 of the world ranking and another 6 in the top 20 in their respective weight classes. Although the team suffered a loss when Yarden Gerbi retired, there are many more young women coming up through the ranks, eager to hear Hatikva from the podium.

In other Zagreb news, two Americans hit the podium - Angelica Delgado took home a bronze medal and Adonis Diaz took home the silver.

Finally, since I haven't posted about international competition in a while, I thought I'd take the opportunity to say how Much I am liking the new IJF Web/Video experience. Not only can you chose the mat to watch, but you can also see upcoming matches and the bracket as well. While the timing feature for matches isn't perfect (the occasional Ippon 10 seconds in throws it off), it's still pretty good. I also like that they link video of each match to the results, so I can search for a player and watch each of their individual fights. It makes following these international GP/GS tourneys a lot easier.

I also like the commentating. I don't know who's reading this blog, but if you work for the IJF, and can hook me up as a commentator - feel free to reach out :)


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