Shalom Life | September 16, 2014

Israel’s Paralympic Team Soars to New Heights, Capturing its Seventh Medal

Gold Medal in Wheelchair Tennis eclipses previous medal count from Beijing

By: Daniel Horowitz

Published: September 9th, 2012 in News » Israel

Israel’s Paralympic Team Soars to New Heights, Capturing its Seventh Medal

The 2012 London Paralympic Games kicked off on August 29th, and the 11-day event, which concludes today, has showcased the inspirational efforts of nearly 4,300 athletes from 166 countries in 20 different events.

One of those countries – Israel - first appeared at the Paralympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy in 1960. Since then Israel has accumulated 336 Paralympic medals (113 of them gold) – placing Israel’s medal count 13th overall in the history of the Games.

But their medal haul rose considerably thanks to their efforts in London over the past week-and-a-half.

Despite being anchored to wheelchairs and other physical constraints, Israel’s entry into this year’s Paralympic team in London, England, has soared to new heights, making Israelis – and Jews across the globe – excited and proud.

When men’s wheelchair tennis player Noam Gershoni captured gold in the singles tournament on Saturday by defeating first-ranked David Wagner of the United States 6:3, 6:1, it marked the seventh medal won by the Israelis, eclipsing their previous high in medals of six, which they achieved in Beijing four years ago when they took home five silvers and one bronze.

After Saturday’s tennis match, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the former IDF pilot to pass on his mazel tovs, and to tell the 29-year-old that he was “very excited” by his victory. “You symbolize the triumph of the human spirit over the difficulties created by the reality we live in,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu.

But that wasn’t the only phone call Gershoni received after taking home the gold.

“You gave the country and the nation an exciting surprise,” Israel’s President Shimon Peres told him. “You’ve proved that you’re just as good on the court as you are in the skies – talented from Apache to tennis.”

Gershoni and doubles partner Shraga Weinberg had already won a bronze medal in men's doubles.

Many of the athletes in the Israeli Paralympic delegation were injured during their service in the IDF.

Gershoni learned to play in a wheelchair at Tel Aviv’s Beit Halochem (combat center) after a helicopter crash during the Second Lebanon War left him severely wounded. He began playing tennis at the facility as part of his rehabilitation. Currently ranked third in the quad category, he won the men’s singles and doubles titles at the 2012 GIO Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Open.

Besides Gershoni’s gold in tennis, swimmers Inbal Perzaro and Itzchak Mamistvalov won a total of three bronze medals, while hand cyclist Kobi Leon won another, and shooter Doron Sharizi took one as well.

Leon was a member of the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit, an elite IDF unit 16 years ago when his squad was hit by an explosive device in Lebanon. Two soldiers in his unit were killed in the attack, and he was left a paraplegic.

This was Leon’s first Paralympic appearance, and, no doubt, as it was for all of us who were fortunate enough to who have watched – in awe – the dedication, courage and skills of these remarkable men and women, it was an experience he will never forget.

On behalf of Shalom Life, thank you, and kol hakavod, to the entire 2012 Israeli Paralympic delegation:

Cycling: Kobi Leon, Nati Gruberg, Pascal Berkowitz

Rowing: Moran Samuel, Reuven Magnagi, Olga Sokolov

Wheelchair tennis: Shraga Weinberg, Boaz Kramer, Noam Gershony

Table tennis: Shai Saida, Liran Geva

Marathon: Gadi Yarkoni

Shooting: Doron Shaziri

Equestrian: Jonathan Dressler

Sailing: Dror Cohen, Arnon Efrati, Benny Wexler, Shimon Ben-Yaacov, Hagar Zehavi

Swimming: Itzhak Mamistvalov, Inbal Pizaro, Iyad Shalabi, Inbal Ganpol-Schwartz, Erel Halevi, Yoav Valinsky

Hollywood Unites to Defy Hamas in New York Times Ad Hollywood Unites to Defy Hamas in New York Times Ad TrendingIraqi Show Depicts ISIS Leader as the Spawn of Satan and a Jewish Woman [VIDEO] Iraqi Show Depicts ISIS Leader as the Spawn of Satan and a Jewish Woman [VIDEO] TrendingUJA Federation’s Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre Receives Capital Grant from the Government of Canada UJA Federation’s Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre Receives Capital Grant from the Government of Canada Trending
 

World's Oldest Siddur En Route to the Holy Land

September 15, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
World's Oldest Siddur En Route to the Holy Land

The 1,200-year-old Biblical text, in tact with a Passover Haggadah and Sabbath prayers, will be put on display at the Bible Lands Museum

Read More

Michael Jackson Hologram Inspires Hitler Pictures and Gun Threats

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Michael Jackson Hologram Inspires Hitler Pictures and Gun Threats

Alki David went threatened John Textor several times after losing a court battle over the Michael Jackson hologram at the Billboard Awards.

Read More

Mayim Bialik Slams Ariana Grande Billboard, Patriarchal Society

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mayim Bialik Slams Ariana Grande Billboard, Patriarchal Society

The 'Big Bang Theory' actress doesn't want her children looking at women in lingerie on billboards.

Read More

Howard Stern Defends Himself Against Rabbi's Attack

September 15, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Howard Stern Defends Himself Against Rabbi's Attack

The 'America's Got Talent' judge was condemned by Rabbi Potasnik over Joan Rivers' eulogy

Read More

The Nosh Pit - Homemade Bagel Recipes

September 15, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
The Nosh Pit - Homemade Bagel Recipes

Everyone loves bagels, but who actually knows how to make them? Impress your friends when you pull freshly baked New York style bagels out of your oven.

Read More

Angela Merkel Speaks at Berlin Rally Against anti-Semitism

September 15, 2014 | By ShalomLife Team
Angela Merkel Speaks at Berlin Rally Against anti-Semitism

"It's our national and civic duty to fight anti-Semitism," the German chancellor said to over 5,000 who arrived in Berlin

Read More

Horsin' Around with 'BoJack' Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg

September 15, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Horsin' Around with 'BoJack' Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg

We speak to the driving force behind the animated Netflix show everybody is talking about

Read More

Man Armed with Rifle Arrested After Making Threats at French Jewish School

September 15, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Man Armed with Rifle Arrested After Making Threats at French Jewish School

Intoxicated man, who lives nearby, yells "I will kill all of you"

Read More

More Headlines