Maccabiah Games can help soothe post-Olympics blues

By Danny Caro, August 20, 2012

I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve spoken to this week suffering from post-Olympic blues. Well, the good news is that there are only 334 days until another major sporting event — the Maccabiah Games.

Faster, higher, stronger is the Olympic motto and it’s great to hear that Amir Peled, chairman of the 19th Maccabiah, is planning to make the Jewish Olympics the biggest and best yet.

Peled and his committee have promised to introduce several sports new to the Maccabiah stage. The T20 cricket competition in 2009 didn’t quite take off following an injury to a player in the first match, after the main 50-over-a-side competition had been completed, but that’s not to say that other events won’t be a roaring success.

There’s definitely no reason why they couldn’t add gymnastics for example, and I know of at least two Americans who would light up the tournament. Aly Raisman and Julie Zetlin would feel right at home at the Maccabiah, which was graced by another Olympic medallist, Jason Lezak, three years ago. And if they’re considering a Powerlifting competition, then GB starlet Shachar Head would be another leading contender.

The Games are less than a year away but already there is a great buzz. And one thing is certain. Everyone who travels to Israel will get the experience of a lifetime. Take it from me. It’s not cheap to take part in, but you cannot put a price on the sporting and social aspects of the event.

There will be a few changes for next year’s Games. For example, the Opening Ceremony, scheduled for July 18, will move to the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, while there is also a new home for the Closing Ceremony, at Haifa’s luxurious Ofer Stadium.

Once again, the Open Football competition will be the blue riband event and, on the GB front, I’m looking forward to seeing David Pollack unveiling his squad in the coming weeks. I’m expecting there to be one or two surprise selections, as well as omissions.

But whatever the make-up of the squad, I’m confident the majority will come from Tony Gold’s exciting London Lions. The fact they still have Matt Stock and Dean Nyman to return is quite frightening and I think you will do well to find a better footballing team in the Spartan South Midlands League this season.

* Another important date for your diary is September 2. That’s when season 2012/13 of the MSFL begins. I’m always interested to see which areas teams that have broken into the Premier Division strengthen and new boys

Norstar A have drafted in some top talent for their first-ever season in the top flight.

Manager Phil Peters, and his trusty right-hand man Jamie Slavin, has been waving the chequebook in the direction of one of their rivals, who also play in orange. You could say they’ve raided North London Raiders by bringing in Danny Bloom, Mark Leader and Ben Sheldon. I know all three players very well from my time with Raiders and believe they will settle in well at their new home.

The Stars have looked sharp in pre-season with victories over SPEC FC and North West Neasden A and I fully expect them to hold their own in the division with their new signings.

Last updated: 10:47am, August 20 2012