Embargoed for Release (Aug. 3 2021) 2021 Para-Athlete Peace Prize – Elham Mahmid Rosin
- Israel Women’s Paralympic Goalball Team Captain
- News: Israel look to Tokyo Games led by a couple who are breaking barriers: A love story in goalball is bringing the different cultures in Israel ― at times in conflict ― together in new ways
Elham Mahamid Rozin is a true ambassador for how Paralympic sports can be a tool to create a better society with equal rights and opportunity for all religions, beliefs, and genders.
Elham is the Israeli Women’s Paralympic Goalball Team Captain and is one of the pioneers for women in the sport in her country. Elham, a Muslim, Michael Rozin, also with a visual impairment, the Jewish captain of the men’s goalball team. The two met at a sports camp when they were both in university in Jerusalem in 2008. “We fell in love at first sight,” she says. “Even though we didn’t speak the same language, we tried to communicate. It gave me the urge to learn Hebrew.”
Both knew the problems that such a relationship could create in Israel. They got married four years ago. Today they are the parents of 2 years boy, Amir, that became the “baby” of the two teams. Elham, who understood the power of sports and how it changes lives, decided to dedicate her life to finding visually impaired girls in the Arabic cities and villages, and pushing them to engage in sports. In the future, she hopes to establish more goalball teams in the Arab sector. Elham, Michael and Amir who live in Hadera today, are loved by both families and their many friends from both teams, proving that love bridges all gaps.
Elham Mahmid Rosin, 30, born in Um al-Fahem, an Arab Muslim city, is a leading player in the Israeli women’s goalball team. She is, in fact, considered one of the founders being the first woman to play Goalball in Israel.
Elham holds a bachelor’s degree in education and theater studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a master’s degree in psychodrama from the Seminar Hakibutzim.
Elham was born with a genetic eye disease (achromatopia), color blindness and a very intense sensitivity to daylight. This disease has no cure. She is aided by the use of special glasses.
Elham was first exposed to goalball game when she was 15 at the blind club in Um al-Fahem. At first, she insisted on playing with the boys, until the Israel Paralympic Committee decided to try and form a girls’ team. She was, of course, the first member. A team was built around her, and she was chosen to be the captain of the very new and very young team. For 8 years she led the team as captain to impressive achievements and served as a kind of mother and big sister to the young team members, until they became a like family.
The main achievement of the women national goalball team led by Elham are the 7th place in the 2016 Paralympic games, the silver medal in the 2019 European championship and qualifying to Tokyo Paralympic games.
The team was adopted by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) disabilities organization, and the fact that she is Muslim never came up, not even when the team won first place and Hatikvah (the national anthem) was played, or when she was ‘wrapped’ in the Israeli flag.
Elham is a role model and inspiration for all. She shares her story through lectures and presentations in front of different Jewish and Arab population for co-existence between all citizens in Israel.
“Elham is a tremendous source of light and hope not just for Israel, but for the entire world,” said Brian Grim, chair of the Para-Athlete Peace Prize committee. “Indeed,” Grim said, “sometimes it’s the ones who are visually impaired who can help the rest of us more clearly see the way forward towards peace.”