A team of disabled Israel Defense Forces veterans won 14 medals, including three gold, in table tennis – also known as ping pong – at the Invictus Games held in Düsseldorf, Germany.
It was the first time Israel participated in the international games founded by Britain's Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex in 2014, to honor wounded military veterans from around the world.
The competition is based on the idea that playing sports has the ability to facilitate both physical and mental rehabilitation.
Israel's co-manager of the team, Ora Seidner, praised the team’s performance.
“It was an incredible experience,” Seidner said. “We went into it focusing on just having fun and doing our best, and we ended up winning all these medals!”
Seidner welcomed the Israeli team’s gold medal success in table tennis, which was secured by Yigal Lagziel and Menashe Zorik.
“We were especially amazed that we did so well in table tennis," Seidner said.
"Table tennis was new to these games, as the host city gets to introduce a sport. It’s a big thing in Germany and particularly in Düsseldorf [with its top team Borussia Düsseldorf],” she said.
Israel also won bronze medals in diverse sporting competitions, such as swimming and cycling.
Israeli archer Assa Ender, who finished in the fifth spot, expressed how meaningful it is to compete against athletes from other nations.
“For me, the most significant experience was to compete with people from all over the world. You speak the same language of sport, even if you can barely understand each other’s spoken language. I also enjoyed walking around the Invictus Games village and the city and having people want to talk to me when they saw me wearing my team uniform,” Ender said.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.