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Peter Pelchik: "I met a source of inspiration - the Olympic spirit at its best" | Israel today


Clay, the Paralympic champion, filled me with power thanks to his heroic struggle and uncompromising character • I believe and hope that we will meet in Paris 2024 • Special column

This time I want to share with you a very special moment for me from one of the training sessions here in the Netherlands at an international camp, with athletes from many countries from all over the world, which takes place in a prestigious and huge complex called "Papandel" - as part of the preparations for the World Championships during the coming October.

Along the way I meet many people, and as in the phrase written in our sources, "Of all my teachers I have been educated", I always strive to take something good from each and every one along the way.

During training we have fights with opponents from other countries and between fights a guy named Clay from England approaches me and invites me to a judo fight.

I noticed right away that he was dealing with a visual disability, and after a short conversation with him I realized that he was the Paralympic champion from the Tokyo Olympics who won a gold medal.

Clay is 70-80 percent visually impaired and yet he chooses to come to one of the toughest training camps and train with everyone equally.

It is rare for Paralympic judokas to train with "regular" judokas, as they usually have their own opponents and special training teams.

He did not give up on me and we fought a strong battle at the end of which we bowed deeply and I hugged him.

At the end of the fight, he shared that it was a huge honor for him to fight and train with me on the same mat.

His words filled my heart and I told him that he is a source of inspiration and strength for me and for everyone who is here on the mat and for thousands of other athletes.

Against all odds he does the unbelievable.


"From all my educated teachers", photo: Oren Aharoni

It was a special moment that fills, empowers and above all puts life into correct proportions.

In my eyes, a person who faces a disability and does not let it occupy the center of his life, but rises in every moment like Clay, expresses the Olympic spirit at its best.

My ultimate goal this year is the World Championship that will be held this year in Tashkent.

That's where I aim and work to arrive as prepared and accurate as possible.

Before that there are three more weeks of training camp;

A week in Azerbaijan and another two weeks in Georgia, with two training sessions each day with the goal being to bring yourself to the highest end of your ability.

I wish myself and the entire Israeli team a lot of success, and also a lot of luck for Clay, in the hope that we will meet again in Paris 2024.


Peter Pleczyk

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Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-08-17

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