Arab Israeli swimmer Iyad Shalabi stunned the world and won a gold medal on Wednesday at 2020 Paralympics Games in Tokyo.
Shalabi won the 100-meter backstroke final, becoming the first ever Arab Israeli to win the race at Paralympics.
The 34-year-old swimmer swam the race in 2:28.04 minutes, thus bagging Israel's 375th medal ever in the Paralympic Games and the 167th in swimming.
Due to the small number of participants competeng in the race in Shalabi's degree of disability, there were no qualifiers and semi-finals.
Shalabi grew up in Shfar'am, an Arab city in northern Israel, and comes from a Muslim family. He is deaf-mute from birth and is quadriplegic due to an accident at the age of 13.
He competes in S1 disability swimming classification - considered the most difficult - and has often competed successfully against swimmers with less severe forms of disability.
His father Yusuf accompanies him in his daily life.
In 2018 he recorded his first major international achievement, winning a bronze medal at the European Championships in Dublin in the 150-meter medley final, breaking the world record.
Last May, Shalabi made history when he became the first Arab Israeli to win gold at the European Championships in Portugal, finishing first in the 50-meter backstroke final with a time of 1:10.69 minutes, almost three seconds ahead of Italian Francesco Battaglia.
Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Moshe "Hili" Tropper was among the first to congradulate the swimmer. "It's a tremendous achievement! Congratulations to our swimmer Iyad Shalabi, who won the first gold medal for Israel at the Paralympic Games."