• Issue: November 1968
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Plate no.: 241
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The Games for the Paralyzed were started in 1948 in the Spinal Injuries Center at Stoke-Mandeville in Britain, by Prof. Ludwig Guttmann, who was later knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England for his services to the handicapped.

Since 1952 international games for the paralyzed have been held annually at the Stoke-Mandeville Hospital. Israel has sent a contingent to the Games regularly ever since 1953.

In 1956 it was decided to hold the Wheelchair Games every four years in the Olympic venue. And so the Games were held in Rome in 1960 and in Tokyo 1964 and were scheduled to be held in Mexico City in 1968.

At the beginning of 1966 Mexico declined to stage the wheelchair games. Israel's offer to take over instead, was received with great enthusiasm by the ISMG Committee and also by the Israel authorities.

The 17th Stoke-Mandeville Games for the Paralyzed therefore took place in November, 1968 in Israel. The events were part of Israel's 20th anniversary celebrations and were held under the patronage of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Zalman Shazar. The Games were sponsored by a special honorary public committee headed by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol.

The International Committee of the SMG headed by Sir Ludwig Guttmann supervised the Games themselves. Israel is affiliated to the ISMGC through the "Israel Stoke-Mandeville Games Committee" headed in 1968 by Mr. Arie Fink, Director of the Defense Ministry's Rehabilitation Dept. The Israel committee includes representatives of the Defense Ministry, the Israel Army Veterans Association (who pioneered sports for the handicapped since 1950) and ILAN, the Israel Foundation for Handicapped Children. More than 1,000 visitors from abroad attended the Games, representing some 30 nations from all the five continents. It appeared that Israel was once again a special attraction, the number of visitors having been three times as great as at previous ISM Games.

Contests were held in basketball, swimming, field and track events, fencing, weight lifting, table-tennis, bowling, snooker and archery. The Games were held in Ramat Gan at ILAN's Sport Center and the Ramat Gan National Stadium.

There were many war veterans among the participants, who have proved to themselves and to others Man's ability to rehabilitate himself through will-power and perseverance.

The Wheelchair Games are the finest example of the victory of the mind over the body. It is sufficient to witness a wheelchair Basketball match or to note that the 100 meters record in the wheelchair dash is 20.2 seconds to understand the above.

The paralyzed were once thought of as invalids condemned to one spot, incapable of leading a normal life, with slow and limited movement only. Thus the advantages of regular sport training stand out all the more. One cannot over-estimate the importance of sports and games in furthering the useful and successful life of the paralyzed in every respect, and the ISM Games serve to sum up their wonderful achievements.

The influence and importance of ISM Games equal and even surpass those of the regular Olympic Games. The Olympic motto - "faster, further, higher" - is fully applicable to the international Wheelchair Games as well but here "higher" designates the soaring human spirit.

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17th International Olympiad for the Paralyzed