Respect: Special Olympics athletes attend a reception at the Prime Minister’s Office
The Special Olympics athletes, who returned from the Olympic Games in Greece with 66 medal (25 Gold’s, 25 Silver’s and 16 Bronze’s), were welcomed to a reception in the Prime Minister’s office with their loved ones and coaches, on Tuesday 12th July. Aside from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Minister of Sports and Culture, Limor Livnat, and the Minister of Social Affairs, Moshe Kachlon, were also in attendance.
Amongst the athletes were the four tennis players from the ITC, who came back from Athens with six medals (three silver’s and three bronze medals). Elad Gevandschnaider from the ITC Beer Sheva, Tamir Segal from the ITC Kiryat Shmona and Muhammad Kunbar and Jafar Tawil from the ITC Jerusalem who are the first Arab athletes to represent Israel in an international tournament. The four were accompanied by Shaya Azar (the tennis coordinator for Special Olympics and the manager of the ITC Ashkelon) and Nadia Golbez (a coach at the ITC Jaffa).
6 Medals for the 4 Israeli`s at the World Games for Special Olympics
Muhammad Kunbar and Jafar Tawil with another friend
Elad Gevandschnaider shows off his medal
Netanyahu told the athletes: “Your victories and your soul have bought great pride and respect for Israel. Your achievements have touched the hearts of the nation, you are in competition every day and you deserve every medal”.
Livnat said: “For us you are all champions, you give us strength and you are proof that those who believe win. You brought great honor to Israel and I am proud of you. We don’t fund the Special Olympics enough, but we will find a way to support this special project more”.
Shaya Azar: “The excitement was great, everyone arrived dressed in their Special Olympics uniform and there was a wonderful atmosphere. It was my second visit to the Prime Minister’s Office, with my previous visit coming after the Olympic Games in Shanghai in 2007. Limor Livnat and Moshe Kachlon spoke to the athletes before the official speeches and were surprised by the amount of medals they won. Other representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Sports also attended and gave high praise to the athletes”.
Benjamin Netanyahu applauds the athletes
Limor Livnat speaks to the athletes