Recap: Palestine’s Maher Abu Rmilah fights a judo bout at the Olympics

Palestine’s Maher Abu Rmilah faced off against Belgium’s Dirk van Tichelt in the Men’s Judo 73 kg weight class. He lost to van Tichelt in 1 minute and 21 seconds when van Tichelt was announced winner by ippon, meaning he had fully immobilized his opponent.

The match, fought on Mat A and refereed by Robert Fukuda, ended relatively quickly as both competitors engaged one another within the opening seconds. Abu Rmilah played defensively but was able to free himself from van Tichelt’s grappling maneuvers. Less than one and a half minutes into the bout, van Tichelt used the Juji-gatame technique which locked Abu Rmilah’s arm. van Tichelt was declared the winner.

Though Abu Rmilah did not advance to the Elimination Round of 16, it is worth noting that he is the first and only Palestinian to ever qualify for the Olympic Games on merit alone.

Below are screenshots of the event footage. For a full replay of the event, click here and begin watching at 1:03:40.


Maher Abu Rmilah enters the arena in his blue judogi, or uniform.


Abu Rmilah stretches and cracks his knuckles before facing off against Belgium’s van Tichelt.


van Tichelt, Abu Rmilah’s opponent, is shown in the foreground in the white uniform.


Before the bout begins, both opponents perform the customary bow to the audience and judges.


Abu Rmilah steps onto the mat.


In the opening moments of the fight, Abu Rmilah and van Tichelt engage one another and try to grab hold of each other’s arms in the most strategic spots.


Abu Rmilah and van Tichelt grapple.


Abu Rmilah attempts to pin van Tichelt but he does so outside of the boundaries.


The two competitors reset.


Abu Rmilah looks defiantly at his opponent.


van Tichelt throws Abu Rmilah to the ground and wraps a leg around his arm.


Abu Rmilah is pinned with his arm locked, and the judges award the win by ippon to van Tichelt.


Abu Rmilah lies on his back for a brief moment after being pinned by his opponent.


A close-up shot of Abu Rmilah just after losing to van Tichelt. Though his Olympic dream has come to an end, Abu Rmilah can rest assured knowing that his countrymen and countrywomen are proud of his achievements.


Abu Rmilah and van Tichelt bow to each other to close the match.

For more information on Maher Abu Rmilah, visit his London Olympics 2012 biography page. For a schedule of all the events in which Palestinian athletes are competing, click here.

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