Melnik was a member of the Israeli judo team at the 1976 Montreal Games, competing in the 70-kg division (light-middleweight); he did not advance past the preliminaries. He also made the Israeli team for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but Israel participated in a boycott of the Games following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Melnik was the Israeli National team coach at the 1984 Olympics.
Israel's top judo competitor during the 1970s, Melnik began practicing judo in the early 1960s, at the age of 15. He practiced in Philadelphia in the early 1970s and in Japan prior to the 1976 Olympics. Melnik won two gold medals at the Scandinavian Open (1975 and 1977), one gold medal at the Belgian Open, and two bronze medals at the British Open Judo Championships (1975 and 1980).
A 14-time Israeli National champion (winning the welterweight division 12 times and the open competition twice), Melnik won the gold medal in his weight class at both the 1973 and 1977 Maccabiah Games, and competed in 10 European Championships and two World Championships during his outstanding career.
After retiring in 1980, Melnik became the Israeli National judo coach, a position he held until 1985. He also coached Hapoel Petach Tikvah, which dominated the club competition in Israel. Melnik's students have won over 350 medals in Israeli championships. Since the early 1990s, Yonah has also been a referee at international competitions.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. May 27, 1946
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)