Israeli Paralympians win 7 medals, with 5 days to go

Thus far, Israel’s Paralympic squad has garnered four gold medals, two silvers and a bronze – six in swimming and one in rowing.


Ami Dadaon with his gold medal, August 30, 2021. Photo by Keren Isaacson/IPC

(Israel21c) – With five days left to the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Israel’s 33-member team has garnered seven medals, six of them in swimming.

Mark Malyar, a 21-year-old swimmer who competes in a disability category for athletes with cerebral palsy, earned three of those medals.

Malyar won a gold in the men’s 220-meter individual medley, a gold in the men’s 400-meter freestyle and a bronze in the men’s 100-meter backstroke.

Ami Dadaon, 20, won a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle, breaking his own world record by six seconds. He also took the silver medal in the 150-meter individual medley.


Like Mark Malyar and his brother Ariel, who is also on the Paralympic squad, Dadaon is a twin born prematurely with cerebral palsy.

The first medal of the Tokyo Games for Israel was a gold won by Iyad Shalabi in the men’s the 100-meter backstroke on August 25.

Shalabi, 34, is the first Muslim Israeli to win a Paralympic or Olympic medal. He was deaf from birth and became wheelchair-bound following an accident at age 13.

Iyad Shalabi finishes first in the men’s 100m backstroke, August 25, 2021. Photo by Keren Isaacson/IPC

All three of these swimming medalists train at Ilan Rehabilitation and Sports Center in Haifa under coach Yaacov Beininson.

Rower Moran Samuel, 39, won a silver medal in the women’s single 2,000-meter event. She previously won a bronze medal in the Rio Games in 2016.

Samuel, who trains with Paula Grizetti at the Daniel Rowing Center in Tel Aviv, was a member of Israel’s national women’s basketball team before suffering a sudden spinal stroke at age 24 that caused partial paralysis. She also is a pediatric physical therapist.

Moran Samuel, shown with her children, returned to Israel with a silver medal in rowing at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Photo by Micha Banano

The motto of the Paralympics is “Spirit in Motion,” and all the Israeli athletes have exemplified that concept.

“Israeli athletes have been winning medals of all colors and setting world records as they do it,” says Israel Paralympic Committee Honorary President Andrew Danos.

“We cannot be more proud of the achievements of all the athletes thus far,” Danos tells ISRAEL21c.