Anglo-Jewry’s finest sporting talent will be showcased at Maccabi GB’s biannual Sports Awards next month and I’d like to take this opportunity to pinpoint my favourites for the various accolades.
There are five categories overall, but I’d just like to focus on three. I firmly believe Dean Furman is a shoo-in for the Senior award after breaking into the South Africa national team and being Bafana Bafana’s player of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Midfield maestro Deano, 25, came of age at the tournament and also helped Doncaster Rovers clinch promotion to the Championship following his move from Oldham. He recently scored his first international goal and is going from strength to strength. Jewish sport couldn’t have a better role model than the former Rosh Pinah pupil right now.
There are several strong candidates in the Junior section. Rugby Union starlet Scott Spurling helped England win the under-20 World Championships as well as the Six Nations title, while there’s also Josh Newman who has reached new heights in the world of trampolining. He has consistently been raising the bar, winning medals on a regular basis, including gold at the Australian Youth Olympics.
Golf ace Marc Brenner, 17, recently turned professional, and there’s every chance he will become the Jewish equivalent of Tiger Woods.
Trafford Athletics sprinter Ellie Edwards enjoyed great success at her first Maccabiah Games, with Sam Shindler-Glass and James Bongart also catching the eye.
Other notable achievers include Yaron Gerber and Jamie Cohen who won medals galore at the JCC Games.
The awards have probably come too soon for long-distance runners David Stone, 11, and Lia Radus who have produced some outstanding performances, but they are definitely both worth keeping an eye on.
The top Team award will also be a close-run thing, with Tony Gold’s London Lions crowned champions of the Spartan South Midlands League Division One. They did it in style too, playing some exhilarating football and scoring goals for fun.
Faithfold A are also in with a shout after making history by becoming the first Jewish team to win the London FA Sunday Intermediate Trophy. They completed the double by adding the JC MSFL title for good measure.
Republic of Flixton, who are now known as AFC Flixton, are also contenders after winning the treble in the Manchester Jewish Soccer League.
Great Britain had two outstanding performances at the Maccabiah, with the under-16 football boys bringing home gold following a thrilling penalty shootout win over the host nation. They were the first British junior team to reach the final, where Naty Kashket, Aaron Goldman, Dominic Feldman, Adam Ellis and goalkeeper Jake Lewis held their nerve to win the competition.
The GB junior netball also dazzled. Led by Gemma Caplan, they executed their game-plan to perfection in the final where they beat favourites Australia 47-44 in another nail-biter.
As things stand, there are no plans to reward a top overseas performer, but if there was, American gymnast Ali Raisman would get my vote following her heroics at London 2012.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what promises to be a memorable occasion.