FOUR-TIME Paralympian, dual gold medallist and world record holder Matt Levy will be competing for Australia at the 2017 Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Levy, who has cerebral palsy, has already broken a world record in the 200 metre freestyle this year.
“It is an honour to be asked to go to these games to represent Australia,” Levy said.
Levy said he is excited to wear the green and gold colours in Israel, but is as excited to learn about Israeli and Jewish culture.
“When I go overseas I love to learn about the different cultures, and people and learning about the culture side of Judaism in a place like Israel will be pretty amazing.”
Levy made his debut for Australia as a 15-year-old and has been swimming competitively ever since.
He won a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympics as part of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team and a gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in the 4x100m medley relay event.
Levy heads to Israel fresh from his Rio campaign, where he won a bronze medal in the 200m individual medley and finished fourth in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle events.
Levy was contacted by Maccabi Australia after board member Tom Goldman read a story about him in The AJN.
After being approached about his interest in attending the Jewish Olympics in 2017, he did not hesitate to take the opportunity.
The Australian Maccabiah team will be the largest delegation Levy has been a part of, with 600 athletes and support staff.
“600 will be an experience,” he enthused.
“Once you’re over there, everyone is family and looks out for each other. I’m sure everyone will make the experience memorable and beneficial to everyone around them and be successful.”
Maccabiah is the next step in a journey that will see Levy contest the international swimming -championships in Mexico later this year, before aiming for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.
“What keeps me going is knowing I can always improve.”
Levy says it is fantastic that the Maccabiah movement is recognising the role of Paralympic sport – because he is real life proof of the profound impact it can have on people’s lives.