The Paralympic Games are slated to take place right after the Summer Olympics come to an end in Tokyo, Japan. From August 24-September 5, the best of the best will be competing in a myriad of sports from athletics to cycling to rowing and swimming as roughly 4,400 athletes will be participating in 22 disciplines in Japan.
Among those athletes will be 25 Israelis who will be taking part in half a dozen sports as the blue-and-white will look to build on their all-time medal count in the Paralympic Games that total a whopping 375 since 1960.
At the last Games in Rio de Janeiro Israel captured three bronze medals with two of those athletes returning to action in the 2020 version of the Games.
Moran Samuel, who won bronze in rowing in 2016 will look to duplicate or better that feat in Tokyo. The Karmiel native suffered a spinal stroke in 2006 paralyzing her lower body but was able to complete her degree and become a physical therapist. Samuel has competed in wheelchair basketball and in fact was the only woman on a men’s team while also taking part in rowing competitions as she enters her third Olympic Games.
Another athlete to watch out for is Doron Shaziri who also won bronze at the 2016 Games in Men’s 50 metre rifle 3 positions SH1. The 53-year old will be taking part in his 7th Olympic Games and has won medals at each one since 1996 in Atlanta capturing a total of 8 split between silver and bronze. In 1987, Shaziri who was a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, was hit by a mine while patrolling the Israel-Lebanon border with the Israel Defense Forces. The incident resulted in Shaziri needing a prosthetic leg which prompted him to begin constructing wheelchairs for IDF veterans.
Pascale Berkovitch will take part in her fourth Olympics in the discipline of rowing as the 53-year old searches for her first medal. Berkovitch was born in Angers, France and made Aliyah at the age of 17 just after having both of her legs amputated below the knee after slipping at a train station and falling onto the tracks pulling her into an oncoming train. However, the setback didn’t discourage Berkovitch from serving in the Israel Defense Forces and then becoming a journalist, writer and film director.
Along with rowing and shooting, Israel will also have athletes taking part in boccia, goalball, paracanoeing and swimming.