As the children begin to mature, starting with school age they have the added opportunity to participate in team and individual competitive sports activities. They have the use of specially-adapted sports equipment, outdoor fields and gymnasiums, competitive quality swimming pools, basketball teams, tennis, table tennis, rowing, and more.
A unique form of wheelchair basketball was developed at ILAN's Sports Center in Ramat Gan. In Sal-Gal, disabled teenagers (about 60% of a team) play together with non-disabled. All the players are in wheelchairs.
The objective of Sal-Gal is to emphasize the players' self-image as athletes rather than handicapped. It also exposes the other players to the disabled on the basis of the latter's strengths and not their weaknesses.
Besides the social benefits, the project lays the groundwork for the future of Israeli wheelchair basketball. Today Sal-Gal games are played in the framework of a national youth league. Despite the glorious past of disabled sports in the country, this is the first time a league for adolescent players has existed, and is especially important because it includes both handicapped and non-handicapped youths.
In order to recruit non-handicapped players, Sal-Gal demonstrations with veteran players and teenagers playing in the league take place in schools around the country. New players are also recruited from among the families and friends of the disabled players. Click here for more information.
It goes without saying that as a result of the competitive activities discussed above many of ILAN's outstanding athletes go on to take part in competitions in Israel and abroad, and ultimately become Paralympic athletes.
Through the years many Paralympic champions have come out of ILAN. As a result, a special sports committee was formed in 2007 to apportion the financial and professional resources necessary to develop the various sports and encourage competitive and Olympic sports. At the behest of the committee, ILAN decided to grant sport scholarships to outstanding athletes and subsidize Paralympic athletes.
Nine ILAN athletes participated in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. The delegation returned with four silver medals. Three of the silver medals went to Inbal Pissaro from Haifa for swimming and the other to Shraga Weinberg and Boaz Kramer from Rama Gan for tennis.