Visually impaired Israeli athlete to compete in Abu Dhabi Marathon – News

Avi Solomon competes in the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on November 26



Avi Solomon (left) joins the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon to raise funds and raise awareness of Afikim. Photo provided

Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2021, 5:53 PM

For visually impaired Israeli runner Avi Solomon, participating in the upcoming Abu Dhabi Marathon is like going back to basics.

“I have never been so excited about a marathon in my life. I feel like I’m coming home, ”Solomon told the Khaleej Times by phone from Israel, before flying to the United Arab Emirates.

“Everything happens thanks to the agreements of Abraham. I come to meet my family that I won.

Solomon is participating in the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on November 26 to raise funds and raise awareness of Afikim, a non-profit organization that works for the education of poor children.

“I want to inspire people to do more and to help others,” said the father of seven.

Solomon, 38, is an Ethiopian Jew who arrived in Israel as part of Operation Moses in 1984. He began to lose his eyesight at the age of six due to an infection. Although he temporarily regained partial vision through certain surgeries, he lost his sight completely at the age of 16.

But Solomon, who has vivid memories of running in his village in Ethiopia as a child, has not given up on his love for running.

“Running is my gift of freedom. It gives me deep joy and helps me manage life better. I also think it is my responsibility to inspire other determined people to understand that they can also push their limits, ”said Solomon, who has twice competed in the London Marathon and other sports. competition. He represented Israel at the International Federation of Blind Sports World Championships in Seoul and South Korea.

While juggling his parenting responsibilities, Solomon still manages to run around 25,000 a day with the help of volunteers. “There is a whole team of people who volunteer to run with me whenever I want. They are like my eyes and help me stay in balance, ”said Solomon.

The shadow runner strapped to Solomon’s hands with a bracelet is well trained to guide him during the race. “I really want to tell people who think they can’t accomplish anything that if I can do it, they can do it too,” Solomon said.

Last week UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja, who ran with Solomon from Jaffa Port to Namal Tel Aviv tweeted: “You are an incredibly courageous athlete, showing us the way and pushing the limits. of what is possible.

The runner said he feels happy and honored to come to a country that supports determined people. “It is a beacon for the world. I hope every nation will take the same approach as the UAE, ”he said.

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