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Michal Feinblatt

(1984 - )

Michal Feinblatt was born on August 26, 1984, in Bnei Brak, Israel.

Well before Michal started to compete internationally as a senior, she was the best Israeli judoka in her weight class. She won the National Championships five times in a row between 2000 and 2004. The 2004 title proved particularly challenging due to a nagging injury. She beat Alice Shlesinger on a controversial call in the final.

In 2002 Feinblatt won the bronze medal in the European Under-20 Championships. Michal fared well in the infinitely tougher World Under-20 Championships in Seoul as she placed 5th in her class. In 2003 she repeated her bronze European Under-20 Championships performance and subsequently entered the senior circuit for the first time. In the 2003 World Championship in Tokya the judoka placed 7th overall in a gutsy display. She won an A tournament in Sophia, Bulgaria later that year. In 2004 Feinblatt placed 3rd in an A tournament in Rome and 7th in a SUPER-A tournament in Hamburg. Despite a lackluster performance in the 2004 European Championships, Michal achieved the Olympic criteria by ranking in the European top five in the under-52 kilograms weight class.

Michal was knocked out of the 2004 Athens Olympics on the first day of competition. On August 15, she met Telma Monteiro of Portugal in the round of 16. Monteiro was already ahead by a Yuko, when she executed an Ippon on Feinblatt 3:43 minutes into the match.

Feinblatt is widely tipped as the next Yael Arad, and is the great female hope of the Israeli Olympic judo team. At the age of 20, Athens was a bit too soon for a medal, but Michal is an excellent prospect for an under-52 kilograms class medal in Beijing 2008.

Sources: Jews In Sports