Israeli national Special Olympics competition to be hosted for the first time ever

Israel's first national Special Olympics competition is set to take place in northern Israel at the end of October.

ISRAEL’S DELEGATION to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi consisted of 25 athletes – 20 men and five women – who combined to capture 22 medals over four different sports (photo credit: Courtesy)
ISRAEL’S DELEGATION to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi consisted of 25 athletes – 20 men and five women – who combined to capture 22 medals over four different sports
(photo credit: Courtesy)

As part of the preparation for the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Special Olympics Israel will hold for the first time a national Special Olympics competition in the country at the end of October.

The competition will be held in northern Israel, in many different sports that include soccer, swimming, track and field, Judo and more.

Prior to the event, there will be Olympic-Flame races, traveling through Israel, through Jerusalem, Eilat, Bat-Yam, Yanuh-Jat and others. In every city, the athletes competing in the event will run with youth movements, city police and local residents. At the end of each race, a local festival for the public will be held. 

The event will take place in multiple cities in the north, amongst them are Kiryat Shemona, Kfar Blum and Dafna. The entire Galilee region "will be an Olympic village for the competition," according to the organizers. 

The opening ceremony will be held in the Hula Lake Park, with many prominent political figures expected to arrive including former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Prime Minister Lapid's wife Lihi Lapid alongside MKs and mayors. There will be an Olympic flame at the ceremony.

 A contestant in the competition (Credit: Special Olympics Israel) A contestant in the competition (Credit: Special Olympics Israel)

Who will participate in these games?

More than a thousand athletes with disabilities will participate in the competition, including youth and children with disabilities. Winners of each sport will receive medals, and selected athletes will travel to the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin. 

Alongside the games, a special dental healthcare operation will take place at each sports arena that will also be accessible to people with disabilities.

Sharon Levy-Balanga, the CEO of Special Olympics Israel said: "The games symbolize the power of competition and the unity in a welcoming society that allows people to dream big and be successful.

"It is a unique week that fulfills a dream. A week where all of the different groups that make up the Special Olympics in Israel came together and will allow plenty of athletes with disabilities to compete and some of them will even get to represent Israel in Berlin." She added.

"The games symbolize the power of competition and the unity in a welcoming society that allows people to dream big and be successful."

Sharon Levy-Balanga

Special Olympics is the main organization for all athletes with disabilities. The organization is active in 192 countries around the world and has over five million athlete members.