An Israeli judo competitor lost a bronze medal match, while an Israeli artistic gymnast advanced to the medal round in Beijing. Gal Yekutiel fell Saturday in the men’s bronze medal match in the under-60 kg class to 2007 world champion Ruben Houkes of the Netherlands and finished fifth. In judo, two bronze medals are awarded in separate bouts. “I am divided in my feelings,” said Yekutiel, 27. “On the one side I am happy for fifth place, but was so close to the bronze, so I also feel sad and disappointed.” Yekutiel defeated Tsagaanbaatar Hashbaatar of Mongolia, the bronze medalist at the 2004 Games in Athens. He also beat the 2007 World Championship second-place finisher Dimitri Dragin of France, 2007 European champion Russian Ruslan Kishmakhov and Nestor Khergiani of Georgia, who won the silver medal in ’04. “I will continue fighting into next year, but I’m not thinking about the next Olympic Games,” Yekutiel said. “I want to rest. I’m tired mentally and physically.”
Israeli gymnast Alexander Shatilov finished 29th out of 98 individual competitors in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics qualification round Saturday, falling just short of qualification for the All-Around Individual final but advancing to the floor exercise medal round on Aug. 17. In his Olympic debut, Shatilov earned a score of 15.60 in the floor exercise to finish eighth, making him the last qualifier for the final. Shalitov, 21, a native of Uzbekistan who moved to Israel six years ago, is the only Israeli competing in the event.