From fighter pilot to gold medalist

Israeli Pride at the London Paralympics Games 2012

By Aryeh Savur

Tazpit News Agency

Noam Greshuny’s story is one of triumph of the spirit.

Six year after being critically wounded during the Second Lebanon War, Gershuny won a gold medal at the Paralympics Games in London playing tennis. He beat the number one ranking player, the American David Wagner 6:3, 6:1. When he ascended the podium to receive the medal and heard the Tikvah playing in the background he was overcome by his emotions, shedding a tear.

During the second week of the Second Lebanon War, on July 20th, two Apache helicopters on their way to an operation in Lebanon collided over Israel’s northern border. One pilot, Major Ran kochbah was killed immediately. The second pilot, Gershuny, was critically wounded. He spent many months in rehabilitation, during which he discovered his love for tennis.

Six years later he made it to the top, bringing Israel its first gold medal from the London Paralympics Games and the first ever in tennis. His family and friends were at the game to support him. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu called the 29 year old sportsman to congratulate him. President Peres contacted him as well, saying: “You have proved that you are good on the court as well as you are in the sky – a talented Apache pilot and tennis player.”

Gershuny was interviewed by Israeli IDF Radio, stating: “This was not my best game, but I am glad I was not surprised by my opponent. I was nervous and stressed out, but I am happy I was able to win. All my family and friends came to support me, and I didn’t want to let them down, so I won. Every minute felt like a year, and I lost some fifty years of my life. But everything is over now, and now I can relax…I don’t know if it had an affect on me, the fact that I was wounded for the country, giving my life and body for her. I would do it all over again, even if I knew that this would be the outcome. This may have made me happier, the fact that I am able to bring so much pride to the country.”

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