Paralympians 'already champions'

ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told the country's delegates to the Paralympics that they are 'already champions'.

Israeli athletes will compete next month in London in nine events - road cycling, rowing, sailing, wheelchair tennis, table tennis, shooting, swimming, equestrian and athletics.

Netanyahu said he could empathise with the athletes after suffering a leg injury.

"I have had this experience, when you cannot reach the steps and you run into a wall and when you need to get into and out of the shower and you run into difficulties with simple, daily actions," he said.

"This is on a small scale, it is so small, but it is so large, and it has given me at least a reminder of the incredible thing that you are doing.

"What you demand of yourselves, nobody demands of you. You demand of yourselves and achieve things physically and, first and foremost, mentally.

"From my point-of-view, you are already champions."

Netanyahu added that Israeli TV will broadcast footage of the Games. He said: "I want all Israelis to see our champions."

Minister of Sport Limor Livnat added: "You rise above all other athletes with your ability to overcome your handicaps."

Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub will welcome the 25 athletes to London with a reception on August 28.

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