Wonder kids are flying the flag

By Danny Caro, September 22, 2011

The array of talent lining up at Sunday's Maccabi GB Sports Awards is quite staggering. While the overall standard in the senior category is strong, I cannot remember such a high-class field in the junior section.

There is an excellent spread of athletes across several sports, including some less traditional ones such as gymnastics, swimming, power-lifting, squash and trampolining.

So, anyone who thinks that Jewish youngsters are just stuck on the sofa playing computer games and have lost interest in sport should read on.

Defending champion Richard Goodman has had a good couple of weeks, culminating in success at the European Junior Club Championships but he faces another big battle here.

Shelli Epstein put herself on the map by finishing runner-up at the European Gymnastics Championships, while swimmer Yaron Gerber won the National Championships on debut.

Power-lifter Shachar Head holds records at British, European and World divisions, while squash starlet Elise Lazarus is also punching above her weight. At just 10, she is ranked No. 1 at Under 11 and Under 13 in England and No. 2 in Europe.

The list goes on. Wonder kid Josh Newman recently won the Under 13 British Trampoline Championships, while tennis star Josh Paris took part at the European Youth Olympics. Paris of Highgate is ranked in the top 10 in Europe and the UK. Big things are expected from England Under 18 rugby union hooker Scott Spurling, who won gold at the Under 19 Commonwealth Games, while Zak Zilesnick had a standout year in table tennis. One of the stars of the show at the European Maccabi Games in Vienna – where he won triple gold – Zilesnick is No. 33 in the men's national rankings and 907 in the world, at just 16. He's also one of the top five juniors players in the UK. Not bad, eh?

● The MSFL got a mention during the Dovid Korman/Michal Kestenbaum wedding. At the best man's speech, it was revealed that "Dovid only broke into Hendon's A-team as a favour to Michal, from former manager Jonathan (Lord Kestenbaum to you and me)". It was clearly a match made in heaven.

● Jeffrey Permutt finished the season with a batting average of 87.40, playing for the Hertfordshire Over-60 team. He fired a half century in the playoff final defeat against Leicestershire.

Last updated: 2:24pm, September 22 2011