Israel’s Iyad Shalabi won the gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke in the S1 category at the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday, Israel’s first gold in these games and first ever for an Arab Israeli athlete.

Shalabi was born deaf and mute, and was left a paraplegic following an accident he suffered when he was 13. On Wednesday, he swam the 100 meters in 2:28.04.

Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister Yehiel Tropper congratulated the swimmer for his “enormous success” in a Facebook post.

“Congratulations to our Israeli swimmer Iyad Shalabit, who won Israel’s first gold medal at the Paralympic Games. Iyad is an inspiring person, whose life is full of victories. And today was another shining one … We’re proud of you, Iyad!” he wrote.


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