Posted In: 19/08/18 ZDVF - Zahal Disabled Veterans Fund
When Oren Blitzblau from Herzliya crossed the finish line of the Iron Man competition in Sweden this morning Sunday, August 19, he beat not only the sport but also beat the terrorist who wanted to kill him 13 years ago.
The Israeli, who was the only blind participant among 1,700 contestants, came in 83rd place in his age group. He covered the distance of 3.8 km swimming, 180 km riding and 42.1 km running, along with his running companion, Erez Falk, in 10 hours and 51 minutes. This broke the previous record set by a blind person who took part in the competition by 12 minutes.
„I have more room to improve“
„The feeling of satisfaction as an athlete is a tremendous feeling,“ explains Blitzblau, „but as a victim of terror, on the national level, it’s a huge victory … I returned to my first love, to sports and I managed to bring honor to the country all over the world today. There’s room for improvement and I will do my utmost to improve “
Sports has always played a major role in his life. Blitzblau is married and the father of two daughters, and lives in Herzliya. As a child, he used to swim competitively, but his swimming career was interrupted when he entered the army, where he served as a fighter in the Paratroopers Brigade. A few years later he transferred to the Intelligence Corps, where he served in a number of positions as the intelligence officer of the southern brigade in the Armored Corps near Gaza.
In January 2005, during the arrest of terror suspects, Blitzblau was wounded when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in an outpost in the Gaza Strip. He suffered severe damage to the internal organs, accompanied by burns all over the body, impaired hearing and loss of vision.
After the rehabilitation process, he began to increase his involvement in sports and in 2013 he was named the European champion in the Para Triathlon category in the category of blind persons (including triathlon), including swimming (750 meters), cycling (20 km) and running (5 km). ranking 5th in the world.
The competition this morning was his first Iron Man competition, which he calls a success. „I experienced a serious injury, but I showed that I can deal here with the Iron Man, and this ability also helps in dealing with the blindness on a daily basis.“
Now, after half a year of exhausting training for competition, all he wants to do is rest in the arms of his wife Nitzan who accompanied him to Sweden. In another six months, I’ll start thinking about the next competition where there is also a category of Physically Challenged.“
On the competition today he added, „I am very happy with the result, I know which landscapes I am missing out on, I was not born blind… but my imagination complements what I cannot see. After eight kilometers of riding, we went back into the city, heard the cars and realized that we had left the forest and returned to the city. There’s no doubt that the other senses are sharper. I’ll lie if I say it’s fun, but I do not want to dig into it, but only enjoy the achievement „.
Executive Director of the IDF Disabled Veterans Organization, Brig. Gen. (res.) Haim Ronen: „Oren’s achievement demonstrates that the strongest force in the world is will power. We are proud of you and glad to help you make history. You are a model and an inspiration to all of us“.