Two remarkable Israeli athletes looking to strike gold

By Jennifer Lipman, August 16, 2012
Moran Samuel

Moran Samuel

Sailing into medal contention

Arnon Efrati, Dror Cohen and Benny Wexler, took gold in Athens and triumphed at the World Sailing Championship last year. After narrowly missing out in Beijing, their aim is to become the first double gold medallists in Paralympics sailing history.

"I'm going to do my best, and I'll be very happy to have the best week of my life again and bring a lot of pride to Israel," said Mr Cohen, who was paralysed in an accident 20 years ago while serving in Israel's air force. This is his fourth Paralympics and something of a homecoming. It was on the Isle of Wight that he first tried Paralympic sonar sailing.

"As soon as I did it, I felt good, even though I didn't know much about competitive sailing." His fondest memory as an athlete is singing Hatikvah after a victory.

Rower gets 'dream' opportunity

Moran Samuel, who is competing in the single sculls, took bronze at the World Championships and is aiming to do "better than that" at the Games.

"I was an athlete before and I have the qualities that are needed to be successful," said the 30-year-old, who was a keen basketball player before she had a spinal stroke, waking up paralysed from the chest down. That was six years ago, and she has reinvented herself, first as a wheelchair basketball player and now as a rower.

"As soon as I joined the Paralympic family I realised I had a chance to accomplish what every athlete dreams of. Being an athlete with a physical disability is like erasing it."

Last updated: 5:45pm, August 16 2012