A wounded survivor of a brutal terror attack that killed his mother and three brothers did not give up. An accomplished athlete, he has now joined a prestigious European wheelchair basketball league.
Israeli wheelchair basketball player Asael Shabo has signed on with Hamburg to Germany’s wheelchair basketball league Rollstuhlbasketball-Bundesliga (RBBL).
Shabo, 24, lost his right leg in a Palestinian terror attack at his home in Itamar, Samaria, in 2002. His mother and three brothers were killed in the attack; nine-year-old Asael survived by pretending he was dead.
Following the attack, he became known for his sports prowess as a swimmer during his long rehabilitation at the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan, first for swimming and later moving to basketball. By 2012 he was considered a candidate for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, but eventually gave up competitive swimming for basketball.
In recent years, in addition to basketball, Shabo has become a noted teacher, sports coach and motivational speaker. Last month he completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education at the Orde Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports, south of Netanya.
He told TPS that the decision to take the German offer came with a host of emotional and logistical considerations.
“Of course, it’s hard to leave home and my family,” he said. “I’ve worked hard to make a name for myself as a teacher and coach, as well as a speaker. And that’s a key part of who I am today: Talking to young people about what I went through, and helping them develop tools to succeed in life.
“But this is such a great opportunity, I couldn’t say no. The chance to play basketball at the highest level is something I’ve dreamed about for years. I don’t speak German, but I’ll learn it along the way,” he added.
Hamburg finished in third place last year. The team will begin pre-season training on September 12, with the opening game of the season scheduled for September 30.
By: Andrew Friedman/TPS
Israelis are Under Attack. Now is the Time to Support Israel!
Want to do something important for Israel? Make a donation to help fight against Palestinian incitement and terror.
The Palestinians' self-proclaimed knife intifada is the latest result of ongoing incitement against innocent Israelis. Israelis are being stabbed, shot and run over. Yet the world is silent. Help Israel to fight and win the war against terror. The time to act is now!