Israel claimed their first medal of the 2016 Rio Paralympics on Sunday morning when Moran Samuel won bronze in the AS Women’s Single Sculls event.
Her first Olympic medal, having finished the 2012 London Games in fifth place, she finished her heat on Friday in second place, in a time of 5:21.36, which saw her qualify for the repechage.
Winning that in a time of 5:22.96, which saw her qualify for Final A, she then finished that in a time of 5.17.46, which saw her to bronze, behind China’s Lili Wang and GB’s Rachel Morris, who won gold.
Speaking afterwards, the reigning world champion said: “A Paralympic medal is so sweet, I really wanted to win a gold medal and to play the national anthem in Rio, but I gave everything I could.
“I left everything out there but there were better rowers than me today, I came a long way with coach Paula Grizzetti and now I have a bronze [arad in Hebrew) medal to go with my son who is named Arad. I started off really well and the conditions were in my favour in the first half of the final. Unfortunately, I’m carrying an injury in my left hand over the past six months and the wind here forced me to work really hard with my left hand. It got really tired and I couldn’t use it at the end of the race.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has since congratulated Samuel over the phone, telling her: “This is an unbelievable achievement, we can’t put into words how proud we are of you. You and your friends represent the Israeli spirit and you are a true hero.”