Kartysh, 22, who competed in the 67-kilogram weight category, made it to the semi-final after beating opponents from Hungary and Kazakhstan. There, she experienced a violent incident she won't be able forget for quite a long time.
Ilana Kartysh. 'I felt the hatred' (Photo: Reuters)
In the semi-final, Kartysh met the African champion, Enas Mostafa of Egypt. At the beginning of the match, Mostafa refused to shake hands with her. During the fight, she broke two of the Israeli's fingers and bit her in the back – causing her to bleed. At the end of the match, unsurprisingly, she refused to shake hands with her again.
" I can't remember such dirty behavior in sports," Kartysh told Ynet after the fight. "In wrestling you must shake hands at the beginning of a match and at the end of a match. But not only did she refuse to shake my hand, she even broke my fingers and bit me until I began bleeding.
Kartysh leaves with gold medal, difficult memory (Photo: Oren Aharoni)
"On the ground, when she was on top of me, she just bit me. I have her teeth marks on my back, and I began bleeding too," the Israeli wrestler adds. "Because of her dirty behavior my desire to beat her grew stronger."
Do you know why she did it?
"From the beginning of the match, when she didn't come over to shake my hand – I knew something was wrong. I felt some kind of hatred towards me and I don’t know why, maybe it has to do with politics and maybe not, but it's never happened to me before. She really attacked me.
"I can't even describe how proud I felt hearing 'Hatikva' (Israel's national anthem) playing in the end."
Kartysh, who has been trained in recent months by a Canadian coach, one of the best in the field, made it all the way to the final, where she competed against a local participant. She won the last battle as well and stepped on the podium to receive the gold medal, Israel's first ever in a Golden Grand Prix competition.