Out Paralympians digest: Moran Samuel

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Rise, fall, rise… This is about Israeli Paralympian Moran Samuel. She played basketball, ran, jumped and never thought that it could ever end. But one day…..

Moran fell sudden sharp pain in her back and could not breathe. She alled an ambulance and went to lie down. By the time the medical team arrived, she couldn’t move her legs and had to be carried on a stretcher. On the way to the hospital “I kept punching my legs” but couldn’t feel anything, the athlete told Walla News years later. At 24, with a promising basketball career ahead, she had suffered a rare spinal stroke. “In one moment my body was erased.”

Her previous life and sport success was erased either. Since then she had to live differently. But no power in the world could take her out of sport and sport out of her. Samuel kept playing basketball with the national wheelchair team and, eventually, took up a solo sport as well. After much persuasion by her life partner (now wife), Limor Goldberg, Samuel joined her in rowing. “I would never have tried it; basketball is where my heart is,” she said. But with time she learnt to love rowing and to receive more emotions from it than any other sport could ever give her.

While she still plays basketball, and remains a member of Israel’s national wheelchair team, Samuel said her priorities changed once it was clear there was a chance for a Paralympic medal and Rio 2016 is her second attempt to get a gold she dreams about. And there are all the chances to get it, because as she says: : “If you look at the obstacle as an obstacle, there’s a chance it will knock you down. If you look at it as a challenge — you do all you can to pass it.” Good luck, Moran.

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