Israeli Businessman to Help Send Handicapped Athletes to Olympics

International businessman Shaul Eisenberg announced Wednesday that he will head a public committee to raise funds to send an Israeli team to the 8th Olympic for the disabled.

The games will be held in Seoul, South Korea, immediately after the 1988 Olympic Games being played there in September.

Eisenberg, whose financial empire is built on trade with the Far East, said at a news conference that $300,000 would be required to send handicapped Israeli athletes to Korea.

He refused to say how much of it would come out of his own pocket.

Although well known for his philanthropy, Eisenberg has studiously avoided publicity in the past. But he took the uncharacteristic measure of summoning the news media to announce his participation.

He said he was "not worried" about raising the funds without recourse to the government.

Israel plans to send 59 athletes to the event, which will feature 3,400 paraplegics, quadriplegics, amputees, blind and other handicapped athletes from around the world.

The Israelis will be accompanied by 15 coaches, doctors and administrators.

They are expected to compete in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball and volleyball, swimming, track and field events, weightlifting, table-tennis, marksmanship and fencing.

Israel has earned a world reputation in paraplegic sports, due partly to the many men and women incapacitated in its wars.

Eisenberg paid tribute to those athletes. "I respect the fighting spirit of Israel’s handicapped sportsmen," he said. "They are great diplomats for the country."

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