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Israeli athletes shine bright in Tokyo, earn seven medals in Paralympics 2021 

Earlier this summer, the Jewish state finished its most successful Olympics with four medals, including two gold

Israeli swimmer Mark Malyar poses with his gold medal in the 400m freestyle at the Tokyo Paralympics on Aug. 29, 2021. (Keren Isaacson/Israel Paralympic Committee)

Israelis have been wildly successful in the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo with seven medals so far that put the Jewish state 20th overall with four gold, two silver and one bronze.

On Monday, the Israeli swimmer Ami Omer Dadaon won gold in the men’s 200-meter freestyle and Mark Malyar won bronze in the men’s 100-meter backstroke.

Earlier this summer, the Jewish state finished its most successful Olympics with four medals, including two gold. Over the years, Israel has been far more successful in the Paralympics, winning in total around 380 medals compared to a total of 13 Olympic medals. 

Israel’s latest Paralympic gold medalist Dadaon is only 20 years old and recently won three additional gold medals in the 2021 European championships in Portugal, in the categories 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle races. 

Prior to his latest bronze medal, Malyar who is 21 and hails from the Israeli coastal city Haifa, also won two gold medals. With his recent 400-meter freestyle victory, Malyar succeeded in breaking both his own record and the world record. 

Israeli Culture and Sport Minister Chili Tropper praised Malyar. 

“Two gold medals, two world records, and a bright future for someone who started sports as part of hydrotherapy in the pool. Mark proves that not just talent is important, but also perseverance and a desire to overcome any limitation.”

Meanwhile, Israeli female athlete Moran Samuel won an impressive silver medal in the finals of the women’s single 200-meter row. Apart from being a world-champion rower, the multi-talented Samuel is also a Paralympic basketball player. In the previous Paralympics in Rio, Brazil, she won a bronze medal. Samuel suffered a spinal stroke when she was 24, which rendered her paralyzed in the lower half of her body. Despite the dramatic change in her life, Samuel refused to give up her ambitions and decided to switch from Israel’s women’s national basketball team to the Paralympic one.

Last week, the 34-year-old Iyad Shalabi made history by winning gold in 100-meter backstroke and becoming the first Arab Israeli to win a medal in the Paralympics. Shalabi who was born deaf-mute, raised in a Muslim family from the Israeli-Arab city Shfaram in northern Israel. In addition, he is paralyzed in all four limbs as a result of an accident when he was 13. In Beijing in 2008 and in London 2012, Shalabi missed out on medals after finishing fourth in both Games. Shalabi’s gold medal victory was extra sweet given the fact that he competes in disability classification S1, reserved for athletes with the most severe activity limitations. 

Tropper praised Shalabi’s historic gold medal victory. 

“Iyad is an inspiring man whose life has been full of victories. And today, another great victory. Iyad wasn’t frightened by the high expectations, aimed high and filled us all with pride. We are proud of you, Iyad Shalabi!” Tropper said

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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