Maccabi USA have selected its Open Equestrian team for the 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in July.
The team will be chaired by Sloane Milstein and coached by Neal Shapiro, a double medal winner at the 1972 Olympic Games and a two-time winner of the most prestigious show jumping competition in the world, the Grand Prix of Aachen. Shapiro was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 2010.
"When I met Neal, I was surprised how easy going he was and I could tell right away that he will not only be a great coach for the team, but also as a mentor for all of the athletes due to his vast experience in the industry," said Milstein. "He will definitely bring confidence to this team and contribute to making this a great experience for everyone."
Equestrian sports will be making their Maccabiah debut, and with the added element of riders needing to be competitive on borrowed horses, locating and recruiting riders in a short period of time became quite a challenge. When it came t selection, the USA committee discovered they had numerous riders to choose from. The athletes selected for this team are diverse with wide range of experience and skills, who will work together to assist each other throughout the competition.
Team members include: June Brody of Lebanon, NJ; Rebecca Brown of Dallas, TX; Annastelle Cohen of Clinton, NJ; Rebecca Cohen of Wellington, FL; Darren Finkelman of Middlebury, VA; Wendi Garfinkel of Lebanon, NJ; Charlotte Gerstenfeld of Fairfax, VA; Corinne Goldman of Edgewater, MD; and Rebecca Weissbard of Manorville, NY.
The team has a great mix of experienced and up and coming riders. One of the outstanding athletes is Rebecca Cohen, who has chosen to bypass the North American Young Rider Championships to be part of this first Maccabi USA Equestrian Team.
"These riders will have the opportunity to compete against other elite Jewish equestrian athletes from all over the world," Milstein commented. "The team is very excited to go to Israel and participate in this amazing athletic and cultural event."