News Brief

An Israeli swimmer won a silver medal on the first day of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

Inbal Pezaro, 21, finished second in the final of the women’s 100-meter freestyle Sunday. Pezaro, who was born with a spinal disorder that inhibits the use of her legs, won the silver in Athens in the women’s 100 breaststroke and bronze in the 200 freestyle competition.

Twenty-seven countries are competing in the Games, which began Sunday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. men’s wheelchair basketball team defeated Israel, 76-53, in a Pool B preliminary game in Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium. Most of the players on the Israeli team, which has not made a Paralympic appearance since Barcelona in 1992, are participating in their first Paralympics.

Israel was ranked 10th following the 2006 World Championships.

Center Rotem Philipps said the team hopes finish in the top six in Beijing.

“We come from a small country, and so can come together and train many times,” Phillips said. “Before the Paralympics, we had three or four months of training together four times a week, and then have had two camps to work as a team.” Center Lior Dror was in Barcelona in 1992 and says the Beijing Games are “amazing.” In his first visit to China, he added that “the people are kind.”

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