Israeli Paralympic swimmer Iyad Shalabi made history for his country Israel on Wednesday.
Shalabi won the 100-meter backstroke final in the S1 category at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Shalabi’s medal is Israel’s first gold medal in this Paralympics and the first won by an Arab Israeli in any Olympic competition.
The 34-year-old Shalabi from the town of Shefaram was born deaf and mute and was left a paraplegic after an accident he suffered when he was 13.
But despite these disabilities, he took up swimming and is now a Paralympics gold in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 2:28.04.
Yaakov Binenson, Shalabi’s coach, is very happy with the accomplishment of his ward.
Israeli Culture and Sports Minister Chili Tropper also expressed great joy in Shalabi’s victory.
Moreover, Shalabi was also congratulated by Israeli president Yitzchak Herzog, who called him a “champion” and a “symbol of power”.
Sources said Shalabi could be awarded a cash prize of 500,000 shekels ($150,000), like Israel’s other Olympic medalists.