Gal has lost his chance of winning a medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics after losing his round of 32 match on August 14. The Israeli beat Lithuanian Albert Techov in the preliminaries. Yekoutiel knew his rival well from the European circuit and took charge from the very start. He charged and received a Waza-ari within seconds of the start of the contest. 1:20 from the end of the contest, Yekoutiel scored a Koka and proceeded to win the match. In his second match, in the round of 32, Gal faced the relatively unknown American, Taraje Williams-Murray. Unfortunately the Israeli was given only 15 minutes between contests and seemed sluggish and out of focus throughout. The American was awarded a Yuko after 15 seconds and continued to outmaneuver Gal. With 2:02 on the clock, Williams-Murray made an elementary charge and Yekoutiel failed to adjust. Williams-Murray won an Ippon as the Israeli lost the match. Gal failed to qualify for the consolation round, as it depended on Williams-Murray's results, and he proceeded to lose.
Gal is a promising judoka who has recently risen to prominence on the world circuit in the under-60 kilograms class. Despite his initial struggle to obtain the Olympic criteria, Yekoutiel was marked to contend for the top spots in the Athens Games.
"On a given day, I can get any result", Yekoutiel explains.
Despite Yekoutiel's lack of big tournament pedigree, his form on the grand prix circuit in the last year was good enough for a spot on the Olympic team. In 2003 he won the grand prix tournament in Tallinn, Estonia. In 2004 he came in third in both the Czech and Georgian grand prix events. Gal also won the Israeli National Championship in his weight class in 2004. In his peak last year the judoka was ranked 9th in the world.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. November 4, 1981
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