Medal Count Update:

Kobi Leon wins Silver in Road Cycling
Doron Shaziri wins Silver in Shooting
Inbal Pezaro wins 3 Bronze Medals in Women’s Swimming 50M, 100M and 200M Freestyle
Itzhak Mamistvalov wins Bronze in Men’s Swimming 200M Freestyle
Noam Gershony wins Gold in Men’s Quad Singles Tennis and Bronze alongside compatriot Shraga Weinberg in the Mixed Quad Doubles Tennis

Update: IDF Veterans on the 2012 Israeli Paralympic Team

Noam Gershoni wins gold in Men’s Quad Singles at the 2012 Paralympics. (Source: Getty Images Europe)

Last week on August 29, the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Paralympic Games kicked off. The games will feature 11 days of competition, and nearly 4,300 athletes from 166 countries will participate in 20 different events.

Israel first appeared at the Paralympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy in 1960. Since then Israel has accumulated 336 Paralympic medals (113 of them gold) – placing Israel’s medal count 13th overall in the history of the Games.

Update: IDF Veterans on the 2012 Israeli Paralympic Team

Israel’s 2012 Paralympic delegation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sports Minister Limor Livnat earlier this month (Photo: GPO)

This year, Israel sent 25 athletes to London and are now only three medals away from equaling their medal tally from Beijing four years ago, when it amassed six medals in total — five silvers and one bronze.

Many of the athletes in the Israeli Paralympic delegation were injured during their service in the IDF.

Hand-cyclist Koby Leon was a member of the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit, an elite IDF unit 16 years ago when his squad was hit by an explosive device in Lebanon. Two soldiers in his unit were killed in the attack, and he was left a paraplegic. This will be his first Paralympic appearance.

Update: IDF Veterans on the 2012 Israeli Paralympic Team

Israel’s Kobi Leon, uses his handcycle during a training session near Tel Aviv. (Photo: Reuters)

Blind marathon runner Gadi Yarkoni lost his sight during his IDF service in Lebanon at the age of 20. Yarkoni runs with his guide, Noach Braun, who feeds him terrain and course change updates so Yarkoni may run with confidence.

Update: IDF Veterans on the 2012 Israeli Paralympic Team

Blind marathon runner, Gabi Yarkoni, will be competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games (Source:

Tennis player Noam Gershoni learned to play in a wheelchair at Tel Aviv’s Beit Halochem (combat center) after a helicopter crash during the Second Lebanon War left him severely wounded. He began playing tennis at the facility as part of his rehabilitation. Currently ranked third in the quad category, he won the men’s singles and doubles titles at the 2012 GIO Sydney International Wheelchair Tennis Open.

Update: IDF Veterans on the 2012 Israeli Paralympic Team

Former IDF Apache helicopter pilot, Noam Gershoni, began playing tennis as part of his rehabilitation (Source: Philippe Buissin)

The 2012 Israel Paralympic Delegation

Cycling: Kobi Leon, Nati Gruberg, Pascal Berkowitz
Rowing: Moran Samuel, Reuven Magnagi, Olga Sokolov
Wheelchair tennis: Shraga Weinberg, Boaz Kramer, Noam Gershony
Table tennis: Shai Saida, Liran Geva
Marathon: Gadi Yarkoni
Shooting: Doron Shaziri
Equestrian: Jonathan Dressler
Sailing: Dror Cohen, Arnon Efrati, Benny Wexler, Shimon Ben-Yaacov, Hagar Zehavi
Swimming: Itzhak Mamistvalov, Inbal Pizaro, Iyad Shalabi, Inbal Ganpol-Schwartz, Erel Halevi, Yoav Valinsky

Source: The Embassy of Israel and The Times of Israel