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In first, Arab swimmer to represent Israel at Olympic Games

Adam Maraana of Haifa will be the third Israeli Arab to represent Israel at the games.

The Paris 2024 logo, near the Eiffel Tower before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, June 17, 2024. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images.
The Paris 2024 logo, near the Eiffel Tower before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, June 17, 2024. Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images.

Adam Maraana will become the first Israeli Arab swimmer to represent the Jewish state at next month’s Olympic Games.

Maraana, a resident of the northern port city of Haifa, is the third Arab citizen to represent Israel in the world’s top sports competition.

The 20-year-old athlete, who won bronze in the 2023 European Under-23 Championship in Dublin in the 50-meter backstroke, qualified for the Israeli Olympic swim team after tying the national record in the 100-meter backstroke in a competition held at the Wingate Institute in Netanya.

The swimmer is the son of a Muslim Arab father and a Russian mother, and has voiced the hope that he will be a goodwill ambassador for Israel. That’s particularly crucial at a time when the nearly nine-month-old war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip has spurred worldwide anti-Israel protests and anti-Jewish sentiment.

He will be the first Arab citizen to represent Israel at the Olympics in nearly half a century. Weightlifter Eduard Meron represented Israel in Rome in 1960 and footballer Rifaat Turk in Montreal in 1976.

The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will run from July 26 to Aug. 11.

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