Israeli athletes win 51 medals at Special Olympics

Peres telephoned Athens on Monday morning to congratulate members of the Israeli delegation and to wish them good luck in the future.

July 5, 2011 06:06
1 minute read.
Special Olympics Athens

Special Olympics Athens_58. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Its policy vis-à-vis the flotilla bound for Gaza and its economic crisis are not the only reasons that Greece is making global headlines these days.

It was also the venue of the Special Olympics for mentally challenged athletes whose sporting prowess puts them in the ranks of achievers.

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The closing ceremony was held on Monday night.

President Shimon Peres telephoned Athens on Monday morning to congratulate members of the Israeli delegation and to wish them good luck in the future.

The 85 member team will come home with 51 medals, of which 17 are gold, 18 are silver and 16 are bronze.

“The State of Israel is proud of you” said Peres as he congratulated the athletes for bringing so much gold to Israel, emphasizing that their achievements were proof that success is attainable, regardless of impairments.

The excellence they had demonstrated in the sports arena gave fresh hope to others with mental disabilities who are fighting for acceptance, inclusion and respect, and showed that there are sometimes compensatory factors, said Peres, adding what they had achieved was not only a personal triumph for each, but proof that with determination and effort many difficulties can be overcome.

The athletes, who competed in 11 sports, were thrilled to receive a phone call from the president, and the team of caregivers sent by the Social Welfare Ministry to accompany the athletes, was no less excited.

The achievements of Israel’s mainstream Olympic teams have never been anywhere as near impressive as those of Israel’s Special Olympics and Paralympics teams.

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