(JTA) – A 91-year-old Israeli Holocaust survivor won a world championship for senior runners of his age category in France.
Semion Simkin, who is legally blind, became world champion on Monday in Lyon after running 10 km in 80 minutes. His impaired vision means he cannot identify objects that are farther away than nine feet, according to Yisrael Hayom.
Only one other runner in his age category, 90-95, finished the race. Lorenzo Juvenal Perez, 93 from Argentina, arrived at the finish line 21 minutes after Simkin at the World Masters Athletics Championship.
“This is a scenario I never even dreamed of. I hope that in the future I will still have the strength to continue and to bring honour to Israel,” Simkin told Yisrael Hayom.
Originally from what is today Belarus, Simkin has two children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, and lives in Ma’aleh Adumim – a settlement near Jerusalem.
The day before the 10 km race, Simkin won the silver medal in a five km race for men of his age group, with a time of 39 minutes and 47 seconds – four minutes behind the winner, 90-year-old Jose Canelo from Portugal.