Six years after almost losing his life during the 2006 Lebanon War, Noam Gershony scaled the top of the Paralympic podium in London on Saturday, winning the gold medal in the Quad wheelchair tennis tournament.
The 29-year-old suffered severe injuries when his Apache helicopter crashed to the ground near Ramot Naftali after a collision with another IDF helicopter.
Gershony and co-pilot Ran Yehoshua Kochva were making their way towards the Lebanese border to assist IDF troops on the ground.
Yehoshua Kochva was killed, while Gershony was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
He began a long and arduous recovery process and decided to take up wheelchair tennis.
Gershony won the French Open at Roland Garros earlier this year and quickly rose to become the world’s No. 2 ranked player.
His crowning moment came on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-1 win over world No. 1 David Wagner, becoming the first Israeli to win a Paralympic gold since 2004.
“I can’t put into words how it felt to hear Hatikva and see the flag at the top of the pole,” said Gershony, who couldn’t stop the tears as the national anthem sounded. “I never thought I would have the chance to represent the country and certainly never believed that I would be able to bring it such honor.”
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