The following happened in just 37 minutes.
Sami Chouchi (BEL) defeating Sagi Muki (ISR)

11:42 a.m.

Belgian and world number one Matthias Casse was already bowing to Brazilian Joao Macedo on tatami 2.

11:44 a.m.

Sagi Muki, world champion and idol in his country, entered tatami 3. In front of him was the Belgian Sami Chouchi.

11:47 a.m.

Chouchi executed a sensational ippon and brutally eliminated one of the big favourites. Stupor in the stadium. This is judo.

11:48 a.m.

Casse got rid of his opponent with not much time to sweat.

12:09 p.m.

For the first time, since 1979, an Iranian-born athlete was preparing to participate in a sports competition in Israel; Saeid Mollaei, to be exact, 2018 world champion, to face Azerbaijani Zelim Tckaev.

Saeid Mollaei (MGL) defeating Zelim Tckaev (AZE)

While both worked the kumi-kata, the Dutchman Frank De Wit and the Hungarian Attila Ungvari staged a fight of spectacular intensity on tatami 3.

12:11 p.m. 

On tatami 1, the Olympic champion Fabio Basile was in the middle of his second golden score in as many fights. Another waza-ari and Basile qualified for the next round.

12:14 p.m.

Mollaei scored a waza-ari.

12:16 p.m.

Mollaei, with another waza-ari, won his first match in Israel.

12:18 PM

Ungvari was punished with a third penalty, after 13 minutes of contest time.

12:19 p.m.

We went in search of oxygen and a decaf.

Our heartbeats could be heard outside the hall. We had goose bumps and the women’s categories had not even begun yet. There was a whole day of competition left still ahead of us. 

Welcome to the judo world.

See also