Last Updated: Thu Jun 07, 2012 16:31 pm (KSA) 13:31 pm (GMT)

Israel bars disabled Palestinian athlete

The physically handicapped Palestinian athelete, Khamis Zakout, has won numerous medals throughout his career. (File photo)
The physically handicapped Palestinian athelete, Khamis Zakout, has won numerous medals throughout his career. (File photo)

Israel has barred a paralyzed Palestinian athlete who lives in Gaza from an Olympics celebration sponsored by the British government.

Khamis Zakout says the British Consulate in Jerusalem invited him and five fellow athletes on the Palestinian para-Olympics team to a pre-Olympics celebration in Jerusalem and the city of Ramallah.

He says he was the only one banned from attending.

The Israeli military says Zakout was barred for security reasons. The Shin Bet internal security service had no immediate comment.

The 47-year-old Zakout says he has no security record and worked in Israel before his legs were paralyzed in a work accident there in 1992.

Zakout competes in the javelin and shot put. He plans to travel from Gaza by way of Egypt to attend the London Olympics.

Ma’an News Agency reported that Zakout receives no financial reward for his vocation. He buys his own uniform, shoes, and sports wheelchair and trains in a public park in Gaza City.

“I have no professional advice on particular training techniques or specific diets for my athletic condition. Even if I had, I would rather provide my family with adequate food, than find for myself the special vitamins I need,” he said.

For Zakout, moral strength “is worth the best equipment and training in the world.”

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