Israeli rower Moran Samuel won a bronze medal at the Paralympics today – Israel’s first of the Rio Games.

Samuel took third place in the arms-shoulders single sculls – ASW1x event. Britain’s Rachel Morris won gold and China’s Lili Wang took silver.

“An Olympic medal is very sweet. For everyone at home, I wanted to hear the Israeli national anthem on the podium. I gave it all that I had. I knew that I didn’t finish first and it broke my heart a bit but I’m happy to have captured a medal,” Samuel told Ynet news.

Moran Samuel's partner and son were there to see her big moment in Rio. The baby's name is Arad, Hebrew for "bronze." Photo by Keren Isaacson/Israel Olympic Committee
Moran Samuel’s partner and son were there to see her big moment in Rio. The baby’s name is Arad, Hebrew for “bronze.” Photo by Keren Isaacson/Israel Olympic Committee

At the London Games in 2012, Samuel reached fifth place in the rowing event.

“My mind is clear when I compete and I concentrate only on my body, the technique and the way the boat reacts, and when it goes well I’m actually more close to a meditative state than to anything else,” the 34-year-old rower told ISRAEL21c in the lead up to the Rio Paralympics.

“I would like to congratulate the Israeli athletes at the Paralympics. They represent the Israeli spirit at its best. I call on the citizens of Israel to watch the games and see our athletes. Israel television broadcasts any live broadcast of all Israeli athletes participating in these games. There is also a daily half hour summary, and we are now working to try to bring the games to everyone on the internet. Watch the games, support our athletes. They are simply heroes. Good luck to them,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.