Maccabiah opening something quite special

The first few days at the 19th Maccabiah Games have been something quite special.

Two days at pre-camp featured some incredible sights, as the majority of the 453-strong Team GB squad converged on Jerusalem.

The junior athletes suffered a four-hour delay on the way out, but that was quickly forgotten as we arrived at our beautiful base at Ramat Rachel where the facilities and staff were first-class. Those who missed pre-camp missed out on a trip to the Kotel followed by an emotional visit to Yad Vashem.

Our delegation includes several non-Jewish coaches who were simply taken aback learning about the atrocities that took place under the Nazi regime.

Many tears were shed along the way and our tour host, Hazy Freund, was outstanding.

Pre-camp concluded with a gala dinner at Kfar Maccabiah where there were uplifting video messages from David Cameron and Lord Coe. That was a great touch by Maccabi GB and a fitting send-off before the squad broke off to their various bases around Israel on Wednesday morning. The cricket team were in particularly good spirits ahead of Friday’s opener against defending champions South Africa in Lod.

We've acclimatised well, with our coach David Nash sharing some stories from his days on the circuit with
Middlesex.

The rugby boys were the first GB squad to compete at these Games, with coach Elvis Seveali’i leading by example in the gym.

Spare a thought too for the athletes who picked up injuries on the eve of the Games and whose participation is in serious doubt. Footballer Andy Glynne was undergoing intensive treatment on a groin injury, which requires an operation immediately after the competition. There’s also Daniel Cole whose right thigh was heavily strapped before their opener against Germany.

But injuries are part and parcel of sport and we have a team of excellent physios and doctors working around the clock.

Hopefully, I’ll have some good news to share about the cricket team’s progress this time next week ...

    Last updated: 1:51pm, August 1 2013