After losing his leg at age 9 following a terror attack in Itamar 15 years ago, Asael Shabo found his place in the world of sports. Noted as one of Israel’s greatest wheelchair basketball players, Shabo made a name for himself and recently signed on to play for Hamburg in Germany.
Asael Shabo Photo Credit: Dotan Doron, TPS
24-year-old Israeli wheelchair basketball player Asael Shabo signed with the Hamburg basketball team, part of Germany’s wheelchair basketball league Rollstuhlbasketball-Bundesliga (RBBL).
In 2002 during the Second Intifada, Shabo lost his right leg after being severely injured in a terror attack at his home in Itamar in the West Bank. While losing his mother and three brothers, Shabo who was 9-years-old at the time, survived by pretending to be dead.
Following the attack, Shabo’s great sports abilities were noted while undergoing rehabilitation at the Israel Sports Center for the Disabled in Ramat Gan. Though he began his notable sports career swimming competitively, even being identified in 2012 as a candidate for the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Shabo later moved on to wheelchair basketball, a sport in which he is now considered one of Israel’s greatest.
“Of course, it’s hard to leave home and my family,” Shabo told TPS. “I’ve worked hard to make a name for myself as a teacher and coach, as well as a speaker. And that’s a key part of who I am today: Talking to young people about what I went through, and helping them develop tools to succeed in life.”
“But this is such a great opportunity, I couldn’t say no. The chance to play basketball at the highest level is something I’ve dreamed about for years. I don’t speak German, but I’ll learn it along the way,” he added.