On Saturday 2nd June, the BNP Paribas World Team Cup closed in the Netherlands. It’s an international championship for wheelchair tennis, with divisions for disabled men and women, quadriplegic people, and even has a junior event.
This year, Israel placed second and brought home the silver medal. Throughout the tournament, Noam Gershony and Shraga Weinberg beat out teams from Japan, the United States, and South Korea.
Israel’s Noam Gershony won the rounds’ single’s match with a 6-1, 6-1 defeat over Australia. In the deciding doubles match, the Australians beat the Israeli team 6-3 and 6-1, leaving the Israelis to pick up silver.
Miri Regev, the Israeli Culture and Sport Minister, issued a statement congratulating the Israeli athletes. She said, “You were close to achieving the title of world champions and I am confident that you will win the championship next year.”
Wheelchair tennis is a competitive sport for wheelchair-bound athletes with varying forms of disability. There are men’s, women’s, and junior divisions, as well as a special category for quadriplegic athletes. This allows both people who were born with disabilities and injured people to compete.
Weinberg was born in 1966 with upper body paralysis. A qualified and practising accountant, he also began playing sports at the Israel Sports Centre for the Disabled. He excelled in wheelchair tennis from the beginning. Weinberg has ranked in the world’s top ten players and competed in international games for more than 18 years.
Gershony is the world’s number two disabled wheelchair tennis player. Gershony served in the IDF as an attack helicopter pilot. During the 2006 Lebanon War, his chopper crashed into a second one. His co-pilot was killed instantly. Gershony suffered broken bones, head injuries, and severe damage to all four limbs. Due to the extent of his injuries, doctors did not expect him to survive.
In 2007, Gershony joined Beit Halochem, an organisation for injured Israeli veterans. With four campuses around Israel and a fifth in construction, Beit Halochem offers sports and treatments to soldiers. It’s a crucial way to help people who have been injured as a result of their service recover. You can learn more about Beit Halochem and watch our video here.
Gershony started training in Tel Aviv. He quickly displayed an aptitude for wheelchair tennis. He first competed in 2010, and rose from 29th to second position in just eight years! When Gershony isn’t training or playing tennis, he volunteers with at risk kids in Tel Aviv and teaches maths to teenagers.
Congratulations to these two incredible athletes on their win!
You can watch the full match here: