Itongadol.- The Rio Paralympics came to an end late Sunday night with the closing ceremony at the Maracana, with rower Moran Samuel being honored with carrying the Israel flag into the stadium.
Samuel won the first of the Israeli delegation’s three medals in Rio, all of them bronze. Samuel claimed her first Paralympic medal in Rio, while shooter Doron Shaziri and swimmer Inbal Pezaro further cemented their place as two of Israel’s greatest Paralympians.
Shaziri extended his remarkable run of winning at least one medal in every Paralympics since 1996, taking a bronze medal in the men’s 50-meter rifle three positions final. The 49-year-old, who had his left leg amputated below the knee after stepping on a land mine during his army service in Lebanon in 1987, has won medals in six consecutive games, taking two silver medals in Atlanta 1996, a bronze in Sydney 2000, two bronzes in Athens 2004, a silver in Beijing 2008 and a silver in London 2012.
Pezaro won her ninth Paralympic medal in Rio, finishing third in the women’s SM5 200m individual medley final. Pezaro, who reached the final in all five of her individual events in Rio, won three medals in each of the previous two Paralympics, taking three bronzes in 2012 and three silvers four years earlier, while also claiming a silver and a bronze in Athens 2004.
She was hoping to win her second medal in Rio on Saturday night, but could only manage a fifth-place finish in the women’s S5 100m freestyle final, clocking a time of 1:24.04 minutes, 83 hundredths of a second from third place.
“This isn’t the way it should have been, from the first moment to the very last” said a disappointed Pezaro. “There were athletes on the Israeli delegation who performed so much better than me and managed to excel, which is the name of the game in these competitions.
The bottom line is that I didn’t succeed.”
Pezaro said she is unsure whether she will compete in Tokyo 2020.
“It doesn’t matter what I say about my future because at the last Paralympics I said that those would be my last games and here I am in Rio,” she explained.
The final Israeli to compete in Rio on Sunday was marathon runner Gadi Yarkoni.
He ended the T11/12 race in ninth place in a time of 3:05.29 hours but was later disqualified as his guide runner Yosef Gezachw ran too far ahead of him.