We’re on the top table, says Katz

While Team GB has high hopes for Table Tennis at the 19th Maccabiah Games, the event will do well to surpass the 2009 event for Dov Katz.

The joint-manager was going for gold in Israel four years ago, but returned home with much more.
He met his wife, Perry, and they now have a 15-month-old son, James. "These Games will be an emotional one for me," said Katz.

Katz and Lee Vandermolen will look to continue their successful partnership which saw them lead GB to nine medals at the 2011 European Maccabi Games in a competition that features a high-quality field.

"Table tennis is considered to be the sport that Jewish players truly excel at on the national stage," Katz said. "We boast a squad which includes a number of nationally ranked players.

"With the likes of Ashley Stokes, Rafi Marom and powerhouse Guy Ben-Aroya, our men’s open squad have every chance of a medal and emulating the 2009 group who claimed bronze."

Stokes reached the quarter-finals of the singles competition at the last Maccabiah, Marom, 21, is taking part in the event for the third time while Ben-Aroya was a top 10 England junior.

The GB juniors are also packed with quality; England top 100 junior Jack Josephs, who won two golds in Vienna, Sasha Somers, and newcomers Joe Klein and Ronen Weinstein.

Junior girls are led by Zoe Waxkirsh, 15, ranked 146 on the England junior listings. The squad also includes the talented Sharon Bamberg.

Michael Gerrard, a member of the 2007 European squad, leads the Masters team alongside Maccabi Association London stalwart John Gee-Grant.

Katz said: "We had unprecedented success at the EMG, with each squad member winning a medal. Israel will be a significantly tougher competition — with Israel, Russia, Germany and USA sending very strong teams.

"There's also former French international and the 1997 and 2009 Maccabiah Open winner Oliver Marmurek who was also in the top 30 in the world, but we are confident we’ll perform well.

"We have selected a squad with a beautiful blend of international experience and Maccabiah debutants, both strong in ability and individuals that understand the Maccabi ethos.

"They have trained hard and played at tournaments around the country in preparation.

"Whilst we want to win medals, making Jewish friends from all over the world will be the defining legacy of this squad."

Joining Vandermolen and Katz on the GB Table Tennis committee are Mel Davidson, the chairman of Maccabi GB table tennis, and Leeds-based Yoni Caspi, who is the GB Junior manager.

TEAM GB TABLE TENNIS BIOGS

The Maccabi GB Table Tennis Squad for Maccabiah 2013

Committee
Dov Katz - co-chair
Lee Vandermolen - co-chair
Mel Davidson - chairman of Maccabi GB Table Tennis

Junior Team Manager
Yoni Caspi (aged 26)
Leeds based, excellent player who reached the last 16 of the Maccabi GB Open mens singles tournament in May

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JUNIOR BOYS

1. Jack Josephs
- won two golds at the EMG in Vienna 2011 plus runner-up in the junior plate
- currently rated England junior number 80
- currently rated England mens number 393

2. Sasha Somers
- first Maccabiah, son of Perry Somers who has participated and won many medals in previous Maccabi Games
- currently rated England junior number 170

3. Joseph Klein
- first Maccabiah
- has received private training twice a week for the past 6 months and has trained tirelessly for the Games

4. Ronen Weinstein
- first Maccabiah
- participated in the 2012 JCC Games, winning 1 gold and 1 bronze
- has trained tirelessly and has not missed one training session for the Games
- a role model

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JUNIOR GIRLS
1. Zoe Waxkirsh
- first Maccabiah
- currently rated England cadet girls number 115
- currently rated England junior girls number 146

2. Sharon Bamberg
- first Maccabiah

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OPEN MEN
1. Ashley Stokes (aged 23)
- four times winner of the mens singles at the Maccabi GB national table tennis championships, most recently in May 2013
- considered top 50 rated England mens player
- won silver medal in the mens doubles at the EMG 2011 Vienna and bronze in the mens team event
- won bronze in the mens team event at the Maccabiah in 2009; quarter-finalist in the mens singles

2. Rafi Marom (aged 21)
- played in the Maccabiah Games as a junior in 2005 (winning bronze in the junior boys team event aged just 14) and 2009
- this will be his 3rd Maccabiah
- winner of the highest medal haul by any GB table tennis player at the 2004 JCC Games aged just 13
- men's doubles winner at this year's Maccabi GB national table tennis championships

3. Guy Ben-Aroya (aged 19)
- played in the 2007 EMG in Rome, winning bronze in the junior boys team event
- first Maccabiah
- men's singles finalist at this year's Maccabi GB national table tennis championships and mens doubles winner
- former top ten England junior
- currently rated England mens number 258

4. Dov Katz (aged 38)
- Team Manager and open squad player
- currently rated top 150 in England men's
- fifth Maccabiah Games; represented MGB International events over the past 25 years
- participated in 6 European Maccabi Games
- former top 10 England junior; 2004 Maccabi GB sportsman of the year
2006 Wilmott Cup national team champion

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MASTERS
1. Michael Gerrard
- played in the 2007 EMG in Rome
- 2013 will be his first Maccabiah
2. John Gee-Grant - Maccabi Association London stalwart

    Last updated: 9:36am, July 5 2013