President Herzog hosts Israeli Tokyo Paralympics athletes
As the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games wrapped up earlier this month, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and First Lady Michal Herzog hosted an event to celebrate the Israeli delegation on Tuesday.
The Jewish state brought home nine Paralympic medals, with a team compromised of 33 athletes who competed in 11 sports.
Twenty-year-old swimmer Ami Dadaon brought a gold medal back to Israel.
“The opportunity to represent the country, and bring pride and happiness to the whole People of Israel, and hear HaTikvah six times at the games, especially at a difficult year like the one we have just had—it’s a huge privilege," Dadaon said at Tuesday's event. "The whole delegation and I felt that we were representatives of the State of Israel, that everyone believed in us and was rooting for us. I hope that our achievements will set in motion a process that will improve Paralympians’ rights and put them at the top of the world.”
President Herzog addressed the powerful edge of Israel’s Paralympic athletes, stating: “You brought the whole people of Israel some extremely happy and moving moments. We followed you and kept contact with you, almost every day. We kept stopping our working day for another moment of the pride and joy that you brought us.
“Anyone who has ever competed in or even closely watched sports knows that it is not enough to be strong or agile to win. At the moment one’s muscles start to hurt… the doubts begin to nag. There are also voices in our heads that try to persuade us to give up, to drop it, to try again later… In sport, without the ability to persevere, without genuine attention to one’s body and abilities, without faith in the mighty powers of the soul that animate us, even the strongest and most agile athletes will lose," he continued.
“Having dealt with challenges from the day you were born, having blazed your own trail with perseverance, determination, and awesome willpower, you are all experts in the use of mental power. The spirit that you bring with you to sports is something that should be studied and should inspire. You keep winning because you believe it is possible. Because you know that you mustn’t sit quietly and wait for victory to come; you must bring it, with all your might. With the help of willpower, choice, hard work, and perseverance.”
The president concluded by wishing the sportsmen and women a "sweet and happy new year."