Ami Dadoan (front row center with glasses) and the Israel paralympic swim team. (Instagram) (Instagram)
israel parlympic swim team

Israel’s paralympic swimmers make waves hauling in 11 medals at the European swimming championships in Portugal including 4 gold medals and a world record.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Israeli swimmer Ami Dadaon set a world record Friday at the European Swimming Championships in Portugal winning a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle as Israel’s paralympic swim team hauled in almost a dozen medals.

Dadaon finished the race with the record time of 2:51:80 and the veteran swimmer won a total of four medals at the European open championships, held in Madeira, Portugal. He won three gold medals, finishing first in the 50, 100 and 200 meter freestyle events and also setting a world record in the 100-meter event while grabbing a silver medal in the 150-meter individual medley.

His teammate Mark Mellier won a silver medal in the 100-meter breaststroke with a result of 1:22:98 minutes. While that finish was not good enough for gold, it was still a a new Israeli record. Mellier also finished with four medals including a gold, two silver and a bronze.

On Thursday, Iyad Shalabi won a gold medal in the men’s 50m backstroke at the championships, which attracted 380 swimmers from 47 countries. Earlier this year at a swim meet in Sheffield, England, Shalabi set a world record in the men’s 150m medley.

Israel’s medal count is at 11, with four gold, four silver, and three bronze. Both Dadaon and Mellier are members of the Ilan Haifa swimming club.

Dadaon took up swimming as part of his rehabilitation therapy and “continued swimming as a hobby.”

“I started to compete and I loved it, so I continued until I reached the youth [national] team,” he added in an official biography.

He’s aiming for a gold medal at the Paralympic Games, which take place this summer in Tokyo.

Shalabi, 33, is from the northern Israeli Arab town of Shefa-‘Amr and is also shooting for gold in Tokyo. He and his father Yusef were the subject of the documentary film “Swimming Against the Current,” which was shown at the 2017 Jerusalem Film Festival.

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