They came, they saw and conquered

July 30, 2009
Goal machine: Open striker Paul Hakim finished as the team’s top-scorer

Goal machine: Open striker Paul Hakim finished as the team’s top-scorer

A first football gold for 48 years was the icing on the cake, according to Darryl Lee, GB head of senior football in Israel.

Goals from Laurence Swerner and Adam Lee earned the Over 45 Masters squad a 2-1 victory over Israel in the final to cap off a memorable tournament in which the Open team took silver, the Over 35s bronze and the Ladies finished fourth.

Lee said: “Medals in all four competitions was probably beyond our expectations when we started but when you look at the professional attitude adopted, it was due reward.

“For some in the team hotel, it was as near to being involved in a professional set-up as they will ever get. I’ve always believed that if you prepare players properly you will enhance their chances. But we must not get giddy about doing it once. We have to look to replicate it and give it due care and attention.

“Obviously, a lot is financially-based but it’s not all about having the money. Attention to detail across our sports needs to be increased.”

At the forefront of the football base in Haifa, Lee said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere around the hotel. Where in the past there was an unhealthy competitive spirit, we had a real team ethic this time. The small things such as supporting players from other squads gave everyone a real life and made a difference.

“The Open squad were on a different level in terms of standard and preparation and for them to win a medal is particularly breathtaking. But we must not lapse into our old ways.”

Lee believes that one of the reasons for GB’s success on the football pitch was down to “the managers not necessarily being the best players in their day”. He said: “In the past the managers did not have a panoramic view. This time, we had people who I believe were very good man managers. People have absolutely no concept of the amount of work that goes into what comes down to being judged on very few games.”

Les Reed, head coach of GB Open football, said: “Team GB has made a statement and put down a marker for future games. As far as football is concerned I hope it has been inspirational for all Jewish players and lays the foundation for excellence in Europe and the next Maccabiah.

Golden oldies: The Over 45 Masters team did the business in the final with a 2-1 victory against Israel

Golden oldies: The Over 45 Masters team did the business in the final with a 2-1 victory against Israel

“I am very proud to have been part of it and privileged to have worked with so many wonderful people. This experience will rank highly amongst the World Cups and UEFA championships I have participated in.”

GB’s medal-winning heroes

GOLD (9)
Football: Over 45 Masters
Squash: David Lazarus Individual Masters 45+
Squash: Jack Shtein Individual Masters 50+
Squash: Team Masters 50+
Track & field: Richard Goodman 1,500m
Track & field: Richard Goodman 3,000m
Track & field: Jennifer Simmons 400m hurdles
Triathlon: Michael Bibring Over 50s
Triathlon: Oliver Ziff Junior

Cricket: Junior boys
Cycling: Danny Ackerman, Clifford Baker, Michael Bibring, Neil Lerner and Maish Weinstein (men’s time trial)
Football: Open
Netball: Junior girls
Netball: Open ladies
Rowing: Jessie Ryde and Rebecca Singer
Rugby: Open
Squash: Jemma Ockwell Individual Junior singles girls
Squash: Riana Einy-Margolis Individual
Squash: Team (Rest of the world)
Squash: Team Masters 45+
Track & field: Richard Goodman 800m
Triathlon: Isabel Burton

Football: Masters Over 35
Half marathon: Jo Ankier
Rowing: Simon Kay
Rowing - Men’s doubles skulls
Rowing: Jessie Ryde and Rebecca Singer
Squash: Open team, Team Junior boys
Squash: Open ladies
Track & field: Jo Ankier 5,000m
Track & field: Rhianna Gurvitz 800m
Track & field: Sophie Wolfe 3,000m
Track & field: Sophie Wolfe, Elysse Mendell, Rianna Gurvitz and Hannah Phipson Junior girls 4x100m
Track & field: junior boys 4x100m
Table tennis - Ashley Stokes, Dov Katz, Adam Laws, Keith Lesser – Open Team Doubles
Table Tennis: Adam Black and Ian Mablin Masters Team
Tennis: Stephen Cole & Maurice Kindler Over 55 Doubles
Triathlon: Oliver Ziff Senior- men’s Open

Last updated: 12:29pm, July 30 2009