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JERUSALEM, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Veteran judoka Ariel Zeevi, the current European men's under-100 kgs judo champion and one of Israel's best-loved athletes, announced his retirement on Monday.
Zeevi, 35, took part in four Olympics but won only a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Games. His first-round defeat in london this year to German Dimitri Peters was his last bout.
"The last few months have not been easy, I felt things I hadn't felt previously. It started with the defeat in London... and suddenly I realised that I had no more aims, I had fought my last bout and it made recovery from the loss so much more painful," Zeevi told reporters.
Zeevi won nine European championship medals including four golds, and a world championship silver in the open category.
Known by his nickname Arik, he became the oldest European champion in his weight division when he won the title for the fourth time in April. (Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by John Mehaffey)
SOURCE: Yahoo Sports
Ariel Ze'evi in 2012
|Competitor for Israel|
|Bronze||2004 Athens||100 kg|
|Silver||2001 Munich||Open kg|
|Gold||2001 Paris||100 kg|
|Gold||2003 Düsseldorf||100 kg|
|Gold||2004 Bucharest||100 kg|
|Gold||2012 Chelyabinsk||100 kg|
|Silver||2005 Rotterdam||100 kg|
|Bronze||1999 Bratislava||100 kg|
|Bronze||2007 Belgrade||100 kg|
|Bronze||2008 Lisbon||100 kg|
|Bronze||2010 Vienna||100 kg|
Ze'evi, a dan 5 black belt in Judo, has had a long and successful career competing in half-heavyweight Judo competitions. He is an Olympic bronze medal finalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics Judo 100 kg class in Athens. His current coach is Alex Ahskenazy.
While growing up, he trained in the local Judo club in his neighborhood, together with his older brother, Roni, who was also the club's first local gold medal pioneer after having finished first in the national Israeli Judo Championships. Ze'evi, heavily influenced by his brother and his accomplishment, began training intensively, and at the age of 14 won his first national competition in the adult class, becoming the country's youngest champion ever. Despite the lack of advanced training facilities, Ze'evi continued training in his local club and steadily closed the gap to world class level, and began competing abroad.
He also hosted a sports television show for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.
Ze'evi placed 5th competing for Israel at the 2000 Summer Olympics in the men's 100 kg division, before winning the bronze medal representing Israel at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens in the men's 100 kg division.
Representing Israel at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he failed to win a medal after losing his second match in the repechage bracket. Ze'evi told the Israeli media he does not want to end his career without a victory (probably hinting at the Judo World Championships in 2009).
According to the International Judo Federation's World Ranking List, as of April 2012, Zeevi was ranked # 8.
Became the champion of Europe for the fourth time in 2012, winning the competition in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
|1999||World Championship, Birmingham (England)||5th|
|1999||European Championship, Bratislava (Slovakia)||3rd|
|2000||Sydney 2000 Olympics||5th|
|2001||European Championship, Paris (France)||1st|
|2001||World Championship Open Weight, Munich (Germany)||2nd|
|2002||European Championship, Maribor (Slovenia)||5th|
|2003||European Championship, Düsseldorf (Germany)||1st|
|2004||Olympic Qualification Championship, Paris (France)||1st|
|2004||European Championship, Bucharest (Romania)||1st|
|2004||Athens 2004 Olympics||3rd|
|2005||World Cup, Tallinn (Estonia)||3rd|
|2005||European Championship, Rotterdam (Netherlands)||2nd|
|2007||European Championship, Belgrade (Serbia)||3rd|
|2008||World Cup Tour, Prague (Czech Republic)||1st|
|2008||European Championship, Lisbon (Portugal)||3rd|
|2009||European Championship, Tbilisi (Georgia)||5th|
|2010||European Championship, Vienna (Austria)||3rd|
|2010||Grand Slam, Tokyo (Japan)||2nd|
|2011||European Championship, Istanbul (Turkey)||7th|
|2011||Grand Slam, Moscow (Russia)||1st|
|2012||European Judo Championships, Chelyabinsk (Russia)||1st