Initial high hopes for Israel’s Olympians ended in disappointment Tuesday, with swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko and judoka Sagi Muki being knocked out before the medal stages.
Gorbenko - after earlier breaking records at the Tokyo Games - failed to achieve a significant position in the 200-meter individual medley despite it being considered her strong suit, coming in 10th overall. As a result, she did not proceed to the final for the event.
In her second race, the 17-year-old finished eighth in the 100-meter backstroke finals - although her appearance in this event was a history making achievement in itself.
Following her races, Gorbenko told the Sports Channel that she found it difficult to compete in two swims so close together.
Meanwhile Muki lost to Austria's Shamil Borchashvili in the men's 81kg class, also ending his hopes for a medal.
Despite beating Brazilian Eduardo Yudy Santos earlier in the day, this meant Muki was knocked out of the round of 16 - he had been considered a strong contender for an Israeli podium position.
Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper told Radio 103FM on Tuesday that he still holds out hopes for more Israeli success stories.
“This is a disappointment, to tell the truth. But looking at the big picture, our delegation is in a very good position,” he said.
On Monday, Israeli judoka Timna Nelson Levy advanced to the quarterfinals in the 57kg weight class after defeating Serb Marica Perisic - where she lost to Japan's Tsukasa Yoshida, but eventually lost in the repechage against Slovenia's Kaja Kajzer, finishing at seventh place.
Fellow Judoka Tohar Butbul also lost a chance for a bronze medal after losing in the men's 73kg quarterfinals to Canada's Arthur Margelidon. Butbul made the non-sporting headlines after his first two potential opponents dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics shortly before they would have faced him.
Algeria's Fetih Nourine withdrew from the Games on Saturday when he learned he would meet Butbul if he advanced to the second round Monday, explicitly citing his support for Palestinians for his decision.
On Monday, Sudan's Mohamed Abdalrasool didn't show up to face Butbul in their round of 32 bout despite weighing in earlier.
Abdalrasool didn't make a public statement about his decision, but Butbul said his team was told Abdalrasool had a shoulder injury - a reason that didn't exactly convince Butbul or the Israeli team.
Nourine and his coach were swiftly suspended by the International Judo Federation last weekend and the Algerian Olympic committee withdrew both men's accreditations and made plans to send them home.