Ron Attias, Israel first-ever men's Taekwondo competitor at the Olympics
Ron Attias, a Taekwondo fighter in the Men’s -58 kg category, will be Israel’s first-ever male representative in the sport at the Rio 2016 Olympics after winning the gold medal at the European Qualification Tournament held last week in Istanbul, Turkey.
Attias guaranteed his spot in Rio de Janeiro this summer after reaching the final of the qualifiers, also winning the gold medal against the Spaniard Jesus Tortosa, current Junior World champion, by 3-2 after connecting a precise kick in the extra time, known as a golden point action.
In the Semi-finals, the stage in which the Olympic qualification was defined, Attias defeated Jack Woolley from Ireland by 12-10 in a relly close match which wasn’t decided until the last seconds. He had previously beaten Chellamootoo from France by 6-5 in the sudden death period of the Quarter-finals and Lindstrom from Sweden by 10-7 in the Last 16 round, his first fight in the event.
Attias won a silver medal in the European Taekwondo Youth Championships in 2011 and has combined his presence in the Junior and Senior -58 kilograms divisions since then.
He will be Israel’s third-ever representative at the Olympics for Taekwondo, following Maya Arusi, who competed for Israel in the 2004 games in Athens and Bat-El Gatterer, who participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Attias’ victory brings the total number of Israeli athletes heading to Rio to 18.
Ramle Mayor Yoel Lavi praised Attias, who is a resident of and trains in the city, saying: “It’s a great honor for the state, for Ramle and for its residents.”