(1982 - )
Maya Arussi is the first Israeli to represent the
country in the newly minted Olympic sport of taekwondo. The young contestant
has qualified for the under-49 kilograms competition and did so in an
unorthodox manner. The Israeli Olympic Committee would not support the
unknown athlete in the recently non-Olympic sport, and Maya was forced
to support herself through countless international tournaments. She
stumbled into the sport on a visit to relatives in the United States
and instantly fell in love with the acrobatic displays involved. Arussi
feels strongly about promoting the sport: "I am proud to be the
first and have a chance to contribute to taekwondo in Israel".
She represents her club, Maccabi Amos Lod.
In 2000 Maya blossomed into a formidable presence
in the international taekwondo circuit. The fly weight won the Belgian
Open Championships and placed third in the Serbia and Montenegro Open
Championships. In 2003 she captured the prestigious German Open Championships,
and came in second in both the Turkish and Spanish opens. In 2004 Arussi
concentrated on achieving the Olympic criteria, and succeeded in Azerbaijan
when she placed second in a pre-Olympic tournament. Her string of success
continued through the open season as she won Belgian Open Championships
for the second time and came in second in Germany after losing to Esraa
Halawa of Egypt in the final. On May 29, Arussi won the National Championship
held in Jerusalem, in the under-51 kilograms category.
Sources: Jews In