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Nova massacre survivor wins gold at European jujitsu championship

"I dedicate the victory to my good friend, Yohai Ben Zecharia, may God avenge his blood, who was murdered on Oct. 7," said Yarin Shriki.

Israeli jujitsu fighter Yarin Shriki. Photo by Juan Lopez.
Israeli jujitsu fighter Yarin Shriki. Photo by Juan Lopez.

Israeli jujitsu fighter Yarin Shriki won a gold medal at the European Championship in Germany over the weekend, seven months after surviving the Hamas massacre at the Supernova music festival near Gaza.

“I dedicate the victory to my good friend Yohai Ben Zecharia, may God avenge his blood, who was murdered on October 7, as well as to the speedy return of all the hostages,” Shriki told Israel’s Channel 14 News.

Shriki entered the final against Belgian Florian Bayili, ranked No. 1 in the world, as the underdog, but was able to surprise his opponent during the fight. As during previous fights, the athlete wore an outfit with the inscription “Yohai, 7/10/2023.”

In November, Shriki in an Instagram post told the story of how he survived Hamas’s terrorist assault on the music festival near Kibbutz Re’im, which left some 360 people dead.

“On 7/10 I was in Nova with my brothers and close friends. I’ve never described what happened to us. How does a party of fun and beautiful people turn into an area full of corpses and blood? Not a few hours passed and I started to hear that people so close to me were no longer answering. We ran away as fast as possible in every direction and miraculously I made it home. But my friends didn’t,” he wrote.

“I didn’t have time to cry as I already found myself returning to training with all my might for the European Team Championship in Croatia,” Shriki added. “And before I got on the plane, the only thing I knew was that I was going to play the national anthem for all those beautiful people who were murdered in cold blood.”

Late last month, Shriki also won a gold medal in the men’s under-69kg Gi category at the Paris Jiu Jitsu 2024 Grand Prix.

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