Israel ready for Paralympics test, says Bolotin


Ron Bolotin believes Israel will have to overcome the odds to win medals at the Rio Paralympics which begin next week.

A total of 30 Israeli athletes — five larger than the squad of 25 in 2012 — will compete across 11 sports and attempt to surpass the eight medals secured at London 2012.

Ron Bolotin, head of the Israel Paralympics Committee, commented: “It gets more difficult every time because there is more excellence as countries invest more in Paralympics sports.

"It will be tough to equal our medal haul in London."

Bolotin, who himself won 11 Paralympics medals in swimming, tipped swimmers Shraga Weinberg and Inbal Pezaro along with Doron Shaziri (shooting) to add to their 2012 medal hauls. Rower Moran Samuel and Kobi Leon (handcycling) are also expected to feature prominently.

Weinberg, who won a silver medal in the wheelchair tennis event in Beijing in 2008 and bronze in London in 2012, will carry the Israeli flag.

Israel pioneered sport for the disabled and even hosted the Paralympics in Tel Aviv in 1968 — winning a record haul of 69 medals.

They will compete in goalball for the first time — a sport for the blind in which there is a bell embedded in the ball.

The goalball squad of six women is captained by Elham Mhamid, an Israeli Arab from Umm El Fahm.

Adam Kellerman of Australia is keen to prove a point in the Wheelchair Tennis competition.

He said: “I was excited just to be at London 2012 but found everything was overwhelming. The world no. 11 player went on to say: “I’m confident that this time I’ll be able to stay grounded and appreciate the experience more.

"To have one Paralympics behind me will be a huge advantage, and I’m really looking forward to showing how far I’ve come in my first match.

"Winning a medal is definitely possible,” he added. “It’ll be hard work, but I know that I’m capable of beating a lot of players above me."

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