“That Friday I arrived at the room, prayed for a miracle and the tears began to flow by themselves”

“That Friday I arrived at the room, prayed for a miracle and the tears began to flow by themselves”
“That Friday I arrived at the room, prayed for a miracle and the tears began to flow by themselves”

Almost a month has passed since the end of the Tokyo Olympics andMoshe phonetic, Chairman of the Judo Association, has not yet returned to routine, at least not mentally. He too, just like his athletes, has been waiting for the biggest competition in the world for five years, and now he is still trying to recover from what happened in the historic “Bodokan” hall. After every Olympics I come back with the same feeling of emptiness, of lack of motivation and have to get out of it. Slowly it is happening “he opened and explained Ponti in a celebratory interview for the sports channel.

“The truth is that this time it will take me much less time to acclimatize compared to what it took me after Rio or Barcelona. When I came back from there with the achievements I felt we were up to the task, we did what we had to do, I felt I had to reinvent myself. And this time? “Disappointment, a feeling that we did not do what we planned to do, we did not achieve what we planned to achieve. We planned to achieve at least two Olympic medals in the individual competition,” said Ponti.

We wanted to open the interview with the chairman with the bright spot, the team bronze medal, which came after a week of severe personal disappointments and thanks to a display of group formation, unity and personal transcendence of each of the judokas in blue and white. But Ponty throws us straight to the “hot” topic – the personal competition from which the team returned without medals, contrary to all expectations and predictions.

Have you already learned the lessons? Do you know why things did not work out?
“Obviously I know. After seeing Purity, Sagi and Peter, I realized they were untrained in terms of their training rivals. Their training rivals in the four months leading up to the Olympics were less opponents in ability, they were not strong partners in preparation for the Olympics. The athletes they trained with were relatively level. “Low for our Olympic athletes. They did not train at the high level, so they came to the Olympics and came out disappointed. That was the main problem. Sagi and Peter were not Sagi and Peter in Tokyo because they were not trained enough with suitable training opponents.”

Plachik. “Training opponents were less capable” (GETTY)

“I admit we only thought about the personal”
I mean they did not come ready?
“I said they did not reach the level required by the Olympics, that athletes are required for it in the Olympics. They trained hard, they did their best and they were ready. No one is to blame here, not Oren (Samadja, SA), not the athletes, but the ability to train With athletes at the highest level. Somewhere the corona did good to the team and did no good to the athletes personally, because without the corona we would have done training camps with stronger opponents, as we did in previous rounds. It occurred to me that we do not train at the highest level, but I did not describe I have a situation like this that we can’t beat. “

Beyond training opponents, is there anything else you can put your finger on?
“Our athletes are very recurring, they are attractive, a lot of companies want to adopt them and the athletes are dazzled by it, advertise everything and I think that is not true. Our athletes are very modest, but somewhere they have become stars and need to make order about it. Whatever it was, All the athletes know that everything that was not good will not be in the future ahead of Paris 2024. “

Oren Samadja’s men’s team arrived, as is well known, as one of the strongest teams in the world. Sagi Muki, the 2019 world champion and Peter Placzyk, the 2020 European champion, were the two most glittering names, and Ponty was not ashamed to admit that they were the two favorite candidates to win a medal. It was a huge surprise when Muki was eliminated in the eighth and Plachik finished seventh and did not advance to the bronze medal fight. But beyond that, all the other men, with the exception of Lee Kochman, were ranked in Tokyo in the top eight. Shani Hershko’s women’s team, however, came in much more modest. Only Timna Nelson was ranked (seventh).

“The girls did an overall great performance overall, like Shira (Preliminary, SA) and Fifth Place,” Ponty continued. “It is clear to me that if we had competed in 2020 we would have returned with some medals in the individual competition. On the other hand, we did not have the group competition. Raz (Hershko, SA), Inbar (Lanir, SA), Gili Sharir and Lee Kochman “There were not four athletes in the Olympics who would not meet the criteria. I admit that we only thought about the individual, and I think that if we had won two medals in the individual competition it is not certain that we would have won a medal in my team.”

first. Finished in 5th place, so close. (GETTY)

what do you prefer?
“The group competition was amazing, the whole State of Israel saw it, it was crazy. Isn’t there the miracle of the jug of oil that burned for eight days? “It was inconceivable what happened there. I hardly intervened, here and there I threw a word, but it was all thanks to Shani and Oren. This transcendence of both was admirable.”

Put me a little into what you went through, day after day as you return disappointed to your room in the Olympic Village.
“I was exhausted, exhausted, disappointed and did not understand what was happening. I did not understand why it was happening to us, how in the first two days we get almost two medals with initial singing and Baruch Shmailov and how after that nothing, darkness. We have no medal. There are two baseball physiotherapists with me in the room Very nice guys. Every morning they told me ‘the medal day’ and every night I would say to them ‘there is no medal today either.’ I’m a believing person. So I prayed and the tears came out of me, I just cried, and I’m not a crying person. I thought to myself, what’s going on here? We have so many good athletes, so one or two had to do it and win a medal. I felt like “Someone really does not want us to succeed, but I still believed that there is no such film, that we return without a medal.”

“Who does such a thing? Who is interviewed and criticized during a competition?”
How much did you blame yourself? Where did you go wrong?
“I blamed myself for allowing the coaches and athletes too much freedom over the four years. In the Paris cycle there are no compromises and no mercy. But to be clear, I believe our coaches, if they were not, there would be no medal. Oren and Shani lifted the athletes and the athletes lifted each other Before the group competition. “

Did you understand the reviews?
“We did not feel the criticism from the country, from the general public. We only felt what was inside the delegation and who does such a thing? Who is interviewed and criticized during a competition? I must admit that the Minister of Sports picked me up. On July 30, the day before the group competition, we texted him. I was disappointed and expected more. He wrote to me, among other things, ‘Who like you knows how cruel it was, persevere.’ “Strengthen me. I also want to thank the sports director who supports us, gives us peace to continue to work hard and achieve and of course the management of the association.”

phonetic. “I blamed myself, I gave the coaches too much freedom” (Alan Schieber)

Give a score to these games.
“It is divided into two. For seven days I was disappointed, I was in a state of thoughts with myself and suddenly in the group competition everything was right. In the individual competition I can compliment Baruch Shmailov and initial singing, both came to battle for a medal and did not expect them. They did their best, What are I happy with? And what about the rest? Peter, for example, did a bad fight in the House of Consolation. He won the battle, we were sure he would win, and you can not make such mistakes in the Olympics. I always told them ‘in a state of passivity, if you do not attack first Sagi is a real winner, but during those seven minutes in this battle there was another Sagi, he had no answers. He was not ready for this type of battle. I saw Sagi’s helplessness, and I realized that he did not train with opponents properly. So my score “It’s 90 out of 100 because we came back with a medal, we created a sequence and a tradition and a tradition that creates achievements. After all, if we came back with one medal in the individual competition I would be happy, so we came back with a group medal, which is more powerful.”

Can we say today that judo is no longer the successful industry in Israel, but gymnastics?
“The gymnastics industry has been very successful with two Olympic champions. It’s crazy, I wish someone like Linoy Ashram, who does everything perfectly, or Artium Doglopiat. There is no doubt that gymnastics was very successful in Tokyo, taekwondo was also 100 percent successful. , And they deserve more support, but I do not think they can be called the most accomplished sport. Still the judo industry has achieved the most in the Olympics, six Olympic medals. “If we look at the depth of judo we know we have excellent athletes who can do that and also become Olympic champions.”

What will be in Paris 2024?
“In Paris it will be good. We will win medals. How many? I do not know, but there will be medals. I believe that from every Olympics we will return with a medal, at least one.”

“We will also win medals in Paris” (GETTY)

“Score? 90 out of 100”

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