Three Israeli juniors won medals at this weekend’s taekwondo Riga Open in Latvia, with all of them benefiting from withdrawals of opponents from Arab countries who refused to face them.
Kedem Nezer claimed a silver medal in the under-51 kilogram competition, advancing to the final without a fight after his opponents in the quarterfinals and semifinals failed to show up.
The retirements of Khameis Aldhanhani of the United Arab Emirates and Abdullah Abdulrahman Alqoud of Saudi Arabia sent Nezer into the final, which he lost 7-5 to Poland’s Mateusz Szczesnowski.
Eitan Haimovitz had an almost identical route to the silver medal in the under- 48kg event, with Mansour Faisal of the United Arab Emirates and Abdulelah Yahya Asiri of Saudi Arabia both pulling out. Haimovitz was beaten 14-4 in the final by Bogdan Tykhonov of Ukraine.
Omry Azulay took a bronze medal in the under-68kg competition, with Mustafa Rasheed Alsomali of Saudi Arabia not showing up for their meeting in the quarterfinal. The Israeli lost 16-7 to Austrian Marcel Muller in the semis.
Israel does not have diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.