Delegation includes first Druze to compete at the Paralympics.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Israel is sending a delegation of 33 athletes in 11 sports to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, including eight swimmers, seven rowers, tennis players, a goalball team, and a power-lifter.
Badminton became an official branch for the first time at the Paralympic Games, and Nina Gorodetsky will represent Israel.
Swimmer Bashar Halabi will become the first Druze Israeli to compete at the Paralympics.
The games will start on Tuesday and will last for two weeks, and are expected to be attended by some 4,400 athletes from 135 countries who will compete in 22 sports.
Israeli medalist rower Moran Samuel and Boccia player Nadav Levi will serve as Israel’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony.
“There is a group of winners here. Everyone here is already a winner, a winner over endless challenges every day. I believe that we have a good chance that this special group will secure more victories and achievements and I am full of optimism ahead of the delegation’s departure,” said Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Tropper during a special sendoff ceremony on Thursday.
“There is a group here that is not only exceptionally well qualified and meets every possible criterion – Israeli and international, it is also full of spirit and character. We are very, very proud of you. I tell you, all of you, athletes, delegation heads and support staff, we are behind you, for the best and for the worst. We are counting on you. Good luck!” he added.
Israel has won a total of 375 Paralympic medals, including 129 gold medals, placing it fifteenth on the list of medal-winning countries.