Noam Greshony’s story is one of triumph of the spirit.
Six year after being critically wounded during the Second Lebanon War, Gershony won a gold medal at the Paralympics Games in London Saturday, playing tennis. He beat number one ranked player, American David Wagner 6:3, 6:1. When he ascended the podium to receive his medal and heard Hatikvah playing in the background he was overcome by his emotions, shedding a tear.
In 2006, 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, Gershony, was critically wounded. He spent many months in rehabilitation, during which he discovered his love for tennis.
Now he has 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 Benjamin 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.”
In an interview for Israeli IDF Radio Gershony said: “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.”
A video of Gershony’s medal ceremony can be watched below.