The shocking murder of his family members and the injury he suffered himself did not dampen Asael’s spirit. Two years after his rehabilitation began, he was acknowledged as a talented swimmer and now is considered one of Israel’s greatest hopes for the 2012 Paralympic Games, which will be held in London.
About a year ago, Asael began combining his swimming exercises with basketball training, another sport in which he demonstrated impressive capabilities. His talent led him to the Sal-Gal project, which trains some 500 disabled children and teenagers in wheelchair basketball.
The project was founded about six years ago by Miki Goldenberg, 60, a writer and producer, together with the Peres Center for Peace, and it sees Israelis and Palestinians play alongside each other. “We want to give disabled people on wheelchairs a different life, a life belt,” says Goldenberg.
The Palestinian players on Asael’s team come from the town of Beit Jala, near Jerusalem, from where gunmen used to fire at the Israeli neighborhood of Gilo in 2000.
The team’s training sessions are held in the central Israeli city of Rishon Lezion and in Beit Jala. The players are trained, side-by-side, by Israeli Tal Ram and Palestinian Salim Atwana.
Several weeks ago, the team traveled to Belgium to take part in an international wheelchair basketball tournament.
Posted on July 22, 2011
Photo Credit: www.london2012.com
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