by Jenni Frazer
One of Britain’s leading Paralympic athletes said this week that “of course” there should be a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony of this year’s Rio Olympic Games, in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in Munich at the 1972 Games.
Ade Adepitan, who was awarded an MBE for his services to disability sport, told the Jewish News: “It was an atrocity which was committed in the Olympic Village, and of course that’s how we should remember and commemorate within the Olympic world”.
Despite major lobbying from the widows and families of the Munich athletes, and the UK Jewish community, there was no minute’s silence at the London Games in 2012. But renewed attempts are underway to persuade the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to memorialise the Israelis at the Rio Games this summer.
Mr Adepitan, a wheelchair basketball medallist (at the Athens Games and the Paralympic World Cup) was one of two guest speakers at the annual dinner held by the UK Friends of Yad Sarah, the Israeli charity whose principal work lies in lending wheelchairs and crutches to those in need. It is estimated that one in every two Israeli families has used Yad Sarah’s services, and fundraising at the dinner went towards buying an additional 3,000 wheelchairs.
Mr Adepitan, who is also a TV presenter who has anchored numerous programmes on the BBC and Channel 4 about disabled sport, spoke passionately about the difference that a wheelchair had made to his life. He said he was “honoured” to be addressing the charity, particularly after listening to the other guest speaker, Dan Alon. Mr Alon [full story next week] is a former Israeli fencer who was one of the very few to escape when Palestinian terrorists stormed the Munich Olympic Village, resulting in the eventual death of 11 Israeli athletes.