Five medal to Israeli Paralympians – Malyar wins second gold

Written by on August 29, 2021

In a fifth medal for the Israeli team at the Tokyo Paralympics, Israeli Paralympic swimmer Mark Malyar won a gold medal in the men’s 400m freestyle swimming competition.

In a fourth medal for the Israeli team at the Tokyo Paralympics, Moran Samuel won a silver medal in the finals of the Women’s Single 2000 meters row, with an end time of 11:18.39 minutes. 

Besides being a world-champion rower, Samuel is also a paralympic basketball player. This is her third Paralympics Games participation, and she already has a bronze medal from the Rio Paralympics under her belt.

Samuel was 24 when she suffered a spinal stroke rendering her paralyzed in the lower half of her body, but the life-altering change didn’t stop her from continuing her training, switching from the Israeli women’s national basketball team to the Paralympic one.

In 2010, she moved her focus to rowing, enrolling a mere two years later at the London Paralympics and finishing fifth.

ISRAELI Paralympic silver and world champion medalist Moran Samuel (credit: Wikimedia Commons)ISRAELI Paralympic silver and world champion medalist Moran Samuel (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Malyar broke a paralympic record at the 400-meter medley swim on Saturday, coming in first and securing his place in the finals, finishing the heat in just 04:41:82 minutes.

On Friday, Malyar won a gold medal and set a new world record in the 200-meter medley swim, completing his race in just two minutes and 29.1 seconds.

Malyar, a Haifa-born athlete with cerebral palsy, is an experienced swimmer, having picked up the skill along with his twin brother as part of physical therapy as a child.

Since then, he has seen considerable success in competition, being named Athlete of the Year by the Israeli Paralympic Committee in 2017. He previously won gold in both the European and world championships and set a world record in 400-meter freestyle swimming. However, this is the first time he has ever been in the Paralympics.

Culture and Sport Minister Chili Tropper congratulated Malyar on his victory and for “filling Israel with pride.”

Yehuda Mormenstein, head of the Aleh Association that treats Israelis with disabilities, praised Malyar for “breaking the glass ceiling and giving hope to so many people and families who saw you resolutely overcome all challenges and break the world record.”

 Men's 200m Individual Medley - SM7 Medal Ceremony – Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Tokyo, Japan - August 27, 2021. Gold medalist, Mark Malyar of Israel celebrates on the podium. (credit: REUTERS/MARKO DJURICA) Men’s 200m Individual Medley – SM7 Medal Ceremony – Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Tokyo, Japan – August 27, 2021. Gold medalist, Mark Malyar of Israel celebrates on the podium. (credit: REUTERS/MARKO DJURICA)

President Isaac Herzog also called Malyar to congratulate him on his victory.

“Mark, this is so exciting. You are unstoppable. Both a gold medal and a made-in-Israel world record!” he said. “I wish you, your brother and your special coach Yaakov Beininson more medals over the course of the games. Well done!”

Herzog told the gold medalist that he expects to see him and the rest of the Paralympians soon at the President’s Residence.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated Malyar and Shalabi. “In the name of all Israel, I congratulate you on your major accomplishment and two gold medals, as well as Malyar’s record. The Paralympic team – you’re the most exciting and inspirational team in the world; your incredible accomplishments are just a bonus.”

 Iyad Shalabi after winning a gold medal at the Paralympics, August 25, 2021 (credit: KEREN ISAACSON) Iyad Shalabi after winning a gold medal at the Paralympics, August 25, 2021 (credit: KEREN ISAACSON)

Following Malyar’s example, Israeli Paralympic swimmer Ami Omer Dadaon won a silver medal in the 150-meter individual medley competition on Saturday, bringing Israel’s total medal count in Paralympic swimming to three, after Iyad Shalabi also picked up gold in the 100-meter backstroke earlier in the week.

Roman Zhdanov of the Russian Paralympic Committee also took home the gold, setting a new world record of two minutes and 21 seconds in the process. Dadaon followed with a two-minute, 29-second result as Japan’s Takayuki Suzuki finished third.

At just 20 years old, Dadaon has previously won three gold medals in the 2021 European championships in Portugal – in the 50m., 100m. and 200m.freestyle races. This is his first time competing at the Paralympics; he will be competing in an additional three events before the end of the games.

President Herzog congratulated Dadaon on his win on Saturday evening via social media. 

“Ami Dadaon was born a premature baby with cerebral palsy and disabilities in all four limbs. When asked what word defines him, he said: faith. Today, he won the silver medal in the 150-meter individual medley at the Paralympic Games. Dear Ami, without a doubt your faith has triumphed. Keep breaking records—we all have faith in you!” 

 Gold medalist Roman Zhdanov of the Russian Paralympic Committee celebrates on the podium next to silver medalist Ami Omer Dadaon of Israel and bronze medalist Takayuki Suzuki of Japan (credit: REUTERS/MARKO DJURICA) Gold medalist Roman Zhdanov of the Russian Paralympic Committee celebrates on the podium next to silver medalist Ami Omer Dadaon of Israel and bronze medalist Takayuki Suzuki of Japan (credit: REUTERS/MARKO DJURICA)

Dadaon began swimming as a child at the Israel Association for Children with Disabilities as part of his rehabilitation therapy. He later joined the national youth team. In December 2017, he received the Israeli Sports Award for Young Para Athlete of the Year.

Speaking to a KAN News correspondent, Dadaon reacted to his success, saying, “I feel like my dreams have come true. I remember that from a young age I dreamed of reaching the Olympics, and here I am – and I even managed to get a medal. I never even dreamed, when I was a child, that I would succeed in reaching this moment, and now I have been privileged enough to do so.”

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