Israelis win 13 medals at World Games

Daria Atamanov led all blue-and-white competitors with two golds and a silver in rhythmic gymnastics.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel did itself proud at the just-completed World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, winning an overall 13 medals.

Israelis took home seven golds, two silver and four bronze medals in all, led by its rhythmic gymnastics star Daria Atamanov.

The 16-year-old star took first place in her ribbon and ball routines, and second in clubs. Her only flub was in the hoops sequence, in which she fell to sixth place. The impressive showing followed Atamanov’s all-around crown in the European championships that were just held in Tel Aviv in June.

The sport Israelis excelled in throughout the Games was ju-jitsu. Meshi Rosenfeld won two golds, beating her female competitors in both her weight class (up to 57 kg) and the one above her (up to 63 kg). In this, she surpassed her bronze medal at last November’s World Championships.

Nimrod Ryder, ranked first in the sport in his weight class with a silver at the Worlds, also took gold in Birmingham, while Shaked Nisimian, World No. 2 this year in the Japanese martial art, matched that achievement to receive Israel’s only silver.

If gaining a bronze medal can be considered a come-down, it would only be for Vicki Dabush, who is the reigning world champion in his weight class. Rounding out the Israeli ju-jitsu winners was Saar Shemesh, who took the third spot in two weight classes.

In other martial arts, kickboxers Shir Cohen and Ohr Moshe each took gold in their respective weight classes.

Rounding out the medal haul, Israel’s acrobatic mixed pair team of Adi Horwitz and Meron Weissman gained bronze for their performance in a discipline where acrobatic moves such as throwing and catching one’s partner are combined with dancing and tumbling to music. They happily reached the podium after just missing it in the World Championships held in March in Baku, Azerbaijan, when they came in fourth.

From the Israeli perspective, the only blemish came in the very beginning of the Games, when a volunteer at the event managed to stand next to the team during the opening ceremony and wave a Palestinian flag for several seconds. He was kicked out, and the organizers apologized to the Israelis.

The World Games is an international event for athletes competing in various sports and disciplines not part of Olympic competitions such as canoeing, lacrosse, sumo-wrestling and drone racing.

The games are held one year after the Olympics.