Three gold medals, two silver and three bronze medals were brought home to Israel by young Paralympic hopefuls on Israel’s first team to compete in the European Para Youth Games held in Liguria, Italy, October 9-15.
Some 600 teenage athletes from 24 European countries participated in the Paralympic-style competitions in 11 sports: archery, athletics, bocce, football 5-a-side, football 7-a-side, goalball, judo, table tennis, sitting volleyball, swimming and sailing.
Seven of Israel’s eight medals were won in swimming, by Arik Malyar, Ron Wolpert and Ami Dadaon. Liad Levi won the bronze medal in bocce. “This was my first competition abroad,” said Dadaon. “I was particularly excited to stand on the podium and sing Hatikva with a loud voice.”
“It is very important that the future generation of Israeli swimmers be exposed to international competitions,” said Karen Leibovich Swet, the swimming division coordinator for the Israel Paralympic Committee. “The industry is highly acclaimed so it is very important to invest in and develop it.”
Organized by the European Paralympic Committee in partnership with the Italian Paralympic Committee, the European Para Youth Games aim to develop younger athletes toward elite competition. At the end, Israel ranked 12 out of the 24 participating countries.