Yehuda Hayisraeli in Jerusalem Marathon
The 2017 Jerusalem Marathon marks 50 years since the reunification of the capital and is the largest marathon to ever take place in the city, breaking records both in the numbers of Israeli and foreign participants with over 30,000 marathon runners.
Most notably among them is Olympic judoka medalist Ori Sasson who won the bronze medal in Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Also representing Israel at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan in judo in the +100 kg (+220 lbs.) category, Sasson won a silver medal for Israel in the inaugural European Games. In doing so he won the silver medal in the 2015 European Judo Championship. True to August 2016, he is rated third in the world for this weight.
Sasson’s name made international headlines during the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics when he defeated Egyptian judoka Islam El Shahaby in the first round. When the match concluded, Sasson tried to shake his opponent's hand, but El Shahaby refused.
Ori Sasson ran together with Israel's veteran hero, from Operation Tzuk Eitan, Yehuda Yitchak Hayisraeli, who was injured trying to save Hadar Goldin z'l. Yehuda's comrades came out to join him and Ori in supporting Team Shalva.
Ori recently donated his jacket, worn when he won his Olympic medal, to establish the Ori Sasson judo program at Shalva. Ori said that 'I couldn't imagine being part of a more exciting group in this momentous event in our Capital city'.
With over 500 runners who travelled from around the world to support Shalva, Shalva National Center in Jerusalem serves as a model and paradigm of caring for individuals with special needs. Shalva was founded 26 years ago with the belief that the responsibility of caring for children with special needs is not only that of the family into which the child was born. 'I personally connected to this value which is why, this past year, I teamed up with Shalva and donated the judo suit I wore during the Olympic Games to benefit children with special needs. These people aspire to be full-fledged members of society, and they are deserving of our support' said Sasson.
Kalman Samuels, Founder and President at Shalva, expresses: “Seeing thousands of people led by a world-famous Olympic medalist, running for the sacred purposes of integration, inclusion and acceptance is extremely moving, and I’m hopeful that many others will take the initiative and join Team Shalva in the 2018 Jerusalem Marathon.