Cohen crowing after GB success

By Danny Caro, July 13, 2011

GB Team manager Samantha Cohen believes the 13th European Maccabi Games were a major success both on and off the pitch.

Involved in a Maccabi Games for the 17th time, Cohen was delighted as the 240-man delegation brought home a record medal haul.

"The squad performance was fantastic," said Cohen. "It exceeded expectations and the hard work from all athletes, managers and coaches has paid off.

"GB won a medal in almost every sport. Performances in the futsal events across the board was better than we ever dreamed of."

The squad featured a combination of Maccabi veterans with Danny Schweiger competing in his 11th Games. But the junior athletes and individuals new to the Open and Masters set-up also contributed heavily.

Cohen said: "We are thrilled to see new talent coming through and, having spoken to them, I know they want to be involved in the Maccabiah in two years and get their friends involved. This can only be good for Maccabi GB.

"The Games are much more than just sport. Bringing 240-strong British delegation to Vienna was a historical moment.

"This week, everywhere you looked, you would turn and see something new. I've heard so many stories about people with families from Vienna.

"The Games were fantastically run and our team spirit was amazing. Everyone came away with so many positives.

"As part of the management team, when you take a step back you can see that this was the ultimate Jewish experience and it has impacted on the Jewish journey for so many and it will be a highlight of their life."

Asked about sporting achievement, Cohen said: "I think we have learnt this week that we are always able to compete and raise the bar. The standard was across the board in management as well athletes.

"My individual highlight was the performance of our futsal teams. The squads put futsal on the map and made it a sport in its own right to show that GB can compete, but there is something that stands out in every sport."

At a time of declining number in 11-a-side football and cricket, Cohen believes that, together with next year's London Olympics, we will see more people involved in sport as a result of the EMG.

"Maccabi has devised a plan and we are already seeing the results. This can only act as a catalyst.

"This is one of the best Games I've been involved in. As a member of management, the impact it has had on our and other participants in terms of a Jewish experience has been incredible.

"It has exceeded all my hopes and expectations and pretty much everyone has gone home with a smile on their face."

Last updated: 11:47am, July 25 2011