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Israeli-Arab Swimmer Iyad Shalabi Won Israel’s First Gold Medal of the 2021 Paralympic Games

The 34-year-old Iyad Shalabi won the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke with a time of 2:28:04. This is the first medal ever won by an Israeli-Arab in an Olympic or Paralympic event. Shalabi was born deaf, and was paralyzed in his lower body following an accident at the age of 6. In 2001 he started swimming.

Iyad's father, Yusuf Shelby, who accompanied his son to Tokyo, stated in an interview: "My heart was pounding. When he overtook his competitor - I cried. He was constantly training. Six years every day he trains. It's like a dream."

Credit: Iyad Shalabi's wikipedia page

The breadth and diversity of the Paralympic Games have increased greatly over the years. The Paralympics in 1960 hosted 400 athletes from 23 countries participating in eight sports. Just over 50 years later, at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, more than 4,200 athletes representing 164 countries participated in 20 sports. Even more exciting, the 2020 Paralympics will begin on August 24, 2021! There are six broad Paralympics categories: amputee, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, wheelchair, vision impairment, and others.


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