Sports, Israel-Arabs

First Israeli-Arab to represent Israel at Olympics 

Adam Maraana is the first Arab-Israeli athlete to represent Israel in 48 years. He is set to compete in the 100 meter backstroke in Paris during this summers Olympics. 

Olympic Swimmers (צילום: BrunoRosa/shutterstock)

Adam Maraana, a 20 year old swimmer, has just qualified for the Olympics to compete in the 100-meter backstroke. He will participate in the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris as the first Arab-Israeli since 1976.

Training at Israel's Wingate Institute, Maraana surpassed the qualifying standard with a time of 53.60 seconds. He was both happy and surprised at his achievement. Despite his young age, Maraana has already won a bronze medal last year in the European Under-23 Championship in Dublin in the 50-meter backstroke category. He also received fifth place in the 100-meter backstroke.

Beyond such achievements is the fact that Adam Maraanas' father is a Muslim Arab, making his son the first Arab-Israeli athlete to reach the prestigious Olympics in 48 years.

It also makes him one of just three Israeli-Arab athletes to represent Israel at the Olympics. The first being weightlifter Eduard Meron who represented Israel at the Olympics in Rome back in 1960. The other was footballer Rifaat Turk who represented the Jewish state at the Olympics in Montreal in1976.

By securing his participation for the prestigious sport, it marks his role among the Israeli swimmers who have recently excelled in global competitions with exceptional results. Among which is Anastasia Gorbenko, who secured two golf medals in the world championship in Dubai in December 2021, she made history as the first Israeli swimmer to achieve such results.

Also in 2021, Arab-Israeli Paralympic swimmer Lyad Shalabi won gold in the 100 meter backstroke. This marks multiple achievements of Israeli swimmers in the international ring as well as a promising future of their representation within the sports world.

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