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Using robotic device, paraplegic Israeli finishes Tel Aviv race

March 15, 2013|By Edmund Sanders
  • Radi Kaiuf, using the ReWalk device that enables paraplegics to walk with the help of robotic leg braces, completed a 10-kilometer race in Tel Aviv.
Radi Kaiuf, using the ReWalk device that enables paraplegics to walk with… (Edmund Sanders / Los Angeles…)

JERUSALEM -- Using robotic leg braces, Israeli veteran Radi Kaiuf, a 46-year-old paraplegic, was able to complete the 10-kilometer race in Tel Aviv’s marathon Friday.

Starting at 6 a.m. to beat unusually hot temperatures, Kaiuf was able to participate without his wheelchair thanks to the robotic braces, an Israeli invention that allows paraplegics to walk with the use of crutches.

"This was my dream, and it feels great to achieve it,"’ said Kaiuf, whose spine was wounded in a 1988 firefight in Lebanon.

Using the ReWalk device, Kaiuf, who has been training for weeks, finished with a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes, nearly an hour below his target time.

Next week, Kaiuf is expected to demonstrate the device to President Obama during the American leader's visit to Israel, which is to include an exhibit of Israeli technological advancements.

Concerned about expected high temperatures and humidity, marathon organizers had postponed the full 26.2-mile race until next Friday.

In the shorter races, which proceeded as planned Friday, the punishing weather took a heavy toll: A 29-year-old Israeli man died during the half-marathon race, and nearly a dozen others were hospitalized with heat stroke.

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