Israeli judoka Tohar Butbul won a bronze medal today (Friday) while competing at the 2017 Grand Slam Judo World Championships in Abu Dhabi, bringing Israel’s total medal count to three. However, once again, no Israeli flags or symbols were displayed at the victor’s podium.

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Israeli Judoka Tohar Butbul won a bronze medal at the Judo Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi today (Friday), bringing the Israeli team’s total medals so far, to three. Butbul finished third in his weight category after defeating the Italian Olympic champion Fabio Basile, scoring a remarkable achievement the day after Tal Flicker took home a gold medal and Gili Cohen, a bronze. Just as had been done for Flicker and Cohen’s ceremonies, no Israeli flags or symbols were displayed during Butbul’s medal ceremony.

“I am very happy and proud to end the day of fighting in Abu Dhabi at the Grand Slam, to finish standing on the podium,” said Butbul after winning. “I am very proud to represent the state. With or without a flag, it does not matter, I feel great satisfaction. Thank you all for the support.”

Gili Cohen (left) with Tal Flicker (right)

Gili Cohen (left) with Tal Flicker (right) Photo Credit: Israel Judo Association/Channel 2 News

This was Butbul’s breakthrough tournament after having trouble over the past few years qualifying for higher level tournaments and after having served as Sagi Muki’s training opponent before the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Tohar Butbul (center)

Tohar Butbul (center) Photo Credit: Israel Judo Association/Channel 2 News

Minutes after Butbul’s own win, female Israeli judoka Rotem Shor lost her battle for a bronze medal in her weight category, thus ending Israel’s participation in today’s tournament. Tomorrow, Israel’s Olympic medalist Or Sasson will compete in the 100 kg weight category.

Or Sasson

Or Sasson Photo Credit: Olympic Committee/Channel 2 News

“The Israel Judo Association proves in each and every competition that Israel is one of the best teams in the world, both because of the quality and the complexity of our two teams,” said Moshe Ponte, President of the Israel Judo Association. “These outcomes come as a result of our hard and uncompromising work, singularly led by coaches Shani Hershko and Oren Smadja for years.”

“We also proved to our country that we can rely on us, since the whole world knows that we are competing in Abu Dhabi despite the obstacles our hosts have placed on us. We will continue forward along this path and increase the intensity from competition to competition.” Monte added.