Shalom Life | April 23, 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

Germany Responds to neo-Nazis with 'The German Apples Front' Germany Responds to neo-Nazis with 'The German Apples Front' TrendingFrazier Glenn Miller to Rabbi: Get Rid of Every Jew Frazier Glenn Miller to Rabbi: Get Rid of Every Jew TrendingSynagogue Firebombed in Ukraine [VIDEO] Synagogue Firebombed in Ukraine [VIDEO] Trending
 

Israeli Wi-Fi Powers Russian Subways

April 22, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Wi-Fi Powers Russian Subways

Passengers aboard subways in in Moscow enjoy Wi-Fi courtesy of Israeli communications provider, Radwin

Read More

Israeli Comedian on 4.20: Let My People Smoke! [VIDEO]

April 22, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Israeli Comedian on 4.20: Let My People Smoke! [VIDEO]

Gadi Wilcherski and a group of Israeli pot advocates campaigned outside Health Minister Yael German's house early Sunday morning

Read More

Shalom, French Polynesia: A Jewish Culture Guide

April 22, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Shalom, French Polynesia: A Jewish Culture Guide

Approximately 130 islands comprise French Polynesia, with Tahiti being the most famous, largest, and most populated.

Read More

Katy Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO]

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Katy Perry Impersonates Unfunny Rabbi in ‘Birthday’ Music Video [VIDEO]

The pop star takes on a number of the "World's Worst Birthday Party Entertainers"

Read More

Seth Rogen and James Franco to Perform ‘Bound 2’ Spoof at Kim Kardashian Wedding?

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen and James Franco to Perform ‘Bound 2’ Spoof at Kim Kardashian Wedding?

Franco shared some interesting intel about the Kardashian/West wedding on 'The View'.

Read More

Drake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Drake to Join Pharrell and Kendrick Lamar at iHeart Radio Music Awards

NBC has announced several big names for iHeart Radio's inaugural event

Read More

David Foster Wallace’s Estate Opposes Upcoming Segel and Eisenberg Biopic

April 22, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
David Foster Wallace’s Estate Opposes Upcoming Segel and Eisenberg Biopic

Wallace's family and literally trust "have no connection with, and neither endorse nor support" the film entitled 'The End of the Tour'.

Read More

Missouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter

April 22, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Missouri Mayor Resigns After Siding with Kansas Shooter

After saying that he "kind of agreed" with 73-year-old former white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, Dan Clevenger has now renounced his position as Mayor of Marionville

Read More

More Headlines