Thirty-three Israeli athletes set off Thursday for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games, which are scheduled to begin later this week.
The delegation includes eight swimmers, seven rowers, tennis players, a goalball team, and a power-lifter. Overall, Israeli athletes will compete in 11 Olympic sports.
Nina Gorodetsky will represent Israel in badminton that became an official Olympic sport for the first time at the Paralympic Games this year.
Swimmer Bashar Halabi will become the first Druze Israeli to compete at the Paralympics.
The Games will kick off Tuesday and are set to last for two weeks. They are expected to be attended by some 4,400 athletes from 135 countries who will compete in 22 sports.
Israeli medalist rower Moran Samuel and Boccia player Nadav Levi will serve as Israel’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony.
“There is a group of winners here. Everyone here is already a winner, a winner over endless challenges every day. I believe that we have a good chance that this special group will secure more victories and achievements and I am full of optimism ahead of the delegation’s departure,” said Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Tropper during a special sendoff ceremony on Thursday.
“There is a group here that is not only exceptionally well qualified and meets every possible criterion – Israeli and international, it is also full of spirit and character. We are very, very proud of you. I tell you, all of you, athletes, delegation heads and support staff, we are behind you, for the best and for the worst. We are counting on you. Good luck!” he added.
Israel has won a total of 375 Paralympic medals, including 129 gold medals, placing it fifteenth on the list of medal-winning countries.