The 25 Paralympic athletes who will represent Israel in London will compete in nine sports: Road Cycling, Rowing, Sailing, Wheelchair Tennis, Table Tennis, Shooting, Swimming, Equestrian and Athletics.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, on Tuesday, 14 August 2012, in Jerusalem, held a festive reception for Israel's delegation to the Paralympics, which will open on August 29 in London. Israel Paralympic Committee (IPC) Chairman Danny Ben-Abu, IPC Director-General Dr. Ron Bolotin, trainers and IPC officials also attended.
The 25 Paralympic athletes who will represent Israel in London will compete in nine sports: Road Cycling, Rowing, Sailing, Wheelchair Tennis, Table Tennis, Shooting, Swimming, Equestrian and Athletics. IPC Chairman Ben-Abu thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu and Culture and Sports Minister Livnat for equalizing conditions for Paralympic and Olympic athletes. "You deserve great thanks for this," he said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu told the athletes: "I broke my leg when I was 14 but it did not affect me too much. I was in a cast for a few months. Now, at a slightly more advanced age, I have had this experience, when you cannot reach the steps and you run into a wall and when you need to get into and out of the shower and you run into difficulties with simple, daily actions. This is on a small scale, it is so small but it is so large, and it has given me at least a reminder of the incredible thing that you are doing - first of all, the challenges of being handicapped, of physical limitations. This is mentally challenging and gives appreciation of both achievements and commitment - our commitment and your achievements."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added: "What you do does not compare to the efforts of other athletes, which are very great. What you are called upon to do is in a different sphere. What you demand of yourselves, nobody demands of you. You demand of yourselves and achieve things physically and, first and foremost, mentally. From my point-of-view, you are already champions and you have achieved major victories. I also promise you that we will give you all possible support, you, your trainers and your accompanying staff.
But you asked from something modest - you said that you want your families, neighbors and friends, and all of Israel, to be able to watch you on TV, and this is my small contribution - there will be broadcasts. I want all Israelis to see our champions. I hope that you bring home medals but from my point-of-view, you already have. Good luck to you, Israel and the human spirit."
Culture and Sports Minister Livnat also used the occasion to thank Israel's Olympic athletes, who have recently returned from London: "You have returned with very fine achievements and I would like to offer a brave and large embrace to all of the athletes who were there and did their best in order to succeed." The Minister added: "Today we provide equal medical and professional services for Olympic and Paralympic athletes. I see you as an inseparable part of Israeli and Olympic sports. In my view, you rise above all other athletes with your ability to overcome your handicaps. You do this so well. You do amazing things and are a model for the emulation and admiration of our youth and all those who encounter difficulties. I love you and wish you success."
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Israel has had success in disabled sports, winning medals at the Paralympic games and giving disabled athletes an opportunity to excel. Israel took 42 athletes to the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, competing in archery, athletics, basketball, cycling, equestrian, rowing, sailing, shooting, swimming, table tennis and tennis. The team came home with five silver medals and one bronze.
Israel debuted at the inaugural Games in 1960 in Rome, winning a total of 364 medals
over the years. Their most successful Paralympian is Zipora RUBIN-ROSENBAUM, who between 1964 and 1988 won 21 medals, 11 of which were gold. Uri BERGMAN won 12 medals between 1976 and 1988, of which 11 were gold. Tel Aviv, Israel, hosted the 1968 Paralympic Games.