Adam Maraana Set to Become First Arab Swimmer to Represent Israel at the Olympics

by Riley Overend 9

June 11th, 2024 International, News

With his 100 backstroke victory at the Israeli Olympic Trials on Thursday, Adam Maraana became the first Arab citizen of Israel to qualify for the Olympics since 1976, and the first ever in the sport of swimming. His qualification is a not-insignificant one at a not-insignificant time in history in Israel.

The 20-year-old Maraana matched Yakov Toumarkin‘s seven-year-old national record in the 100 back with a winning time of 53.60, taking almost a second off his previous-best 54.31 from the European U23 Championships last August. He snuck under the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 53.74.

“I surprised myself,” said Maraana, who’s committed to attend the University of North Carolina this fall after next month’s trip to Paris. “I’m very happy.”

Maraana is making headlines globally with the Israel-Hamas war heading into its ninth month. Israel has killed at least 37,000 people in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry, since Hamas launched a brutal assault last October that killed about 1,200 Israelis and foreigners while also resulting in hundreds more being taken hostage.

Arabs make up more than 20% of the population in Israel, but an Arab-Israeli hasn’t appeared at the Olympics since soccer player Jimmy Turk 48 years ago. Only three Arab-Israelis have ever been to the Olympics, with weightlifter Eduard Meron being the other back in 1960. They have been better represented at the Paralympic level, where swimmer Iyad Shalabi won two gold medals a few years ago in Tokyo.

Maraana is one of 11 Israeli swimmers who have qualified for the Paris Olympics so far with a little less than two weeks remaining in the qualifying window. He will be joined by Anastasia Gorbenko, Tomer Frankel, Gal Cohen Groumi, Denis Loktev, Miron Haruti, Martin Kartavi, Aviv Barzelay, Ayala Spitz, Daria Golovati, and Bar Soloveychik.

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1 month ago

“Apartheid” country…

1 month ago

The hypocrisy of the IOC on this issue is shocking!

Reply to  Tani
1 month ago

what hypocrisy?

Reply to  Swammer
28 days ago

Criticize Russia, but levy no punishment to a country actively committing genocide, dear!

we need more such peopld
1 month ago

What an admirable athlete!

John from Tel Aviv
1 month ago

Israelis are very happy to see anyone representing Israel on the Olympics games.
If he is an Arab,basically it doesn’t matter, but I personally happy about that.

Scuncan Dott V2
Reply to  John from Tel Aviv
1 month ago

I’m sure John from Tel Aviv is trustworthy

Reply to  Scuncan Dott V2
1 month ago


1 month ago

Go Adam!

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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