All teams sing together at the Maccabiah Games

Andrew Myers, Team Maccabi GB’s General Team Manager for the upcoming Maccabiah Games, discusses what makes the event so special


How long have you been involved with Maccabi GB for?

As a seven year old, I was first taken by my parents to Brady Maccabi in Edgware. Little did I realise at the time, that this first day would lead to almost 45 years of involvement and commitment to the Maccabi goals and ethos that are as valuable today as they were back in 1979. An ethos that fosters education, friendship, competition and leadership.

How many International Games have you attended?

Including the upcoming Pan American Games in Buenos Aires, I have been fortunate to have competed or managed at 12 International Games.

What has been your favourite experience at an International Games?

On a personal level it was winning a gold medal in the over-35s football in Buenos Aires in 2007/8. A special tournament in a wonderful city where I was so fortunate to create so many new lifelong friendships both within our own squad and as importantly, with other participants from across the world. Beating the hosts in the final in 102-degree heat was the cherry on top of the cake!

What does it mean to you to represent Maccabi GB at the Maccabiah Games?

It’s a truly unique experience to have the opportunity to represent your country in any discipline in life. Our chosen passion is sport and I passionately believe that our Maccabi GB sportswomen and men are the future leaders and drivers of so much that is crucial to a strong, inclusive, and vibrant community.

The Games are about creating a lasting impact on each individual and providing them with a framework to connect with their community, their Jewish identity, and their own relationship with Israel. The Games are about making life-long friends from around the world as we may be competing under different flags, but we are all competing under the Star of David.

What sports are you planning on taking to the Maccabiah Games in 2025?

There are too many to mention here but alongside netball, cricket, rugby, football, tennis and golf, we hope that for the first time in many years we will be able to take a basketball team and water polo team as well as some individual sports such as gymnastics and bouldering.

How many athletes are you hoping will represent Team Maccabi GB?

At the last Games in 2022 we took over 500 athletes and so I would expect similar numbers this time.

However, more important that the numbers we take is the hope that we manage to widen our reach so that everyone from across the country feels they are able to apply for the Games regardless of their gender, location or personal circumstances. My hope is that we begin to move close to parity in terms of female and male GB representatives.

What are you most looking forward to at the Maccabiah?

I overheard the captain of the women’s football team say on landing in Israel at the start of the 2017 Games that the real shame is that there were only two and half weeks left of the experience.

That is probably the key for me to get every participant and their families and supporters to understand and buy into the fact that the experience is not only about the 17 days in Israel, but the journey and the build-up to the Games, which are just as important.

The time before the Games where athletes get to bond with their teammates, train hard together, plan how they will achieve their goals and become part of the Maccabi GB family.

Is it just you or do you have a team of people to help organise the Games?

I am fortunate to have a great team alongside me. The assistant team managers Natalie Kenton, Laurence Myers and Danny Schindler each bring real experience and specialism — and I am very honoured that they are joining me on this journey.

The support from Maccabi GB is invaluable and we are appointing sports chairs and managers who will each be responsible from delivering the best experience possible for each participant. It really is a big team effort in which everyone plays a vital role.

How has taking part in the Maccabiah Games changed your perspective, or connection to Judaism and the Jewish Community?

I have always been very proud of my Judaism and my responsibility to play an active role in the community.

The Maccabiah Games itself has given me the opportunity to meet and befriend amazing individuals across the world and my life has been so enriched by meeting them. The Games make you realise that we share so many common bonds — our love of sport, our delight in representing our country, our passion to invest in our youth and create the next set of leaders, and our pride in our Jewish culture and belief.

What component of your experience at the Games do you think has had the biggest impact on your identity?

Being on the pitch at the opening ceremony in 1993 and looking around a stadium filled with 40,000 people including my family and then hearing it filled with the opening lines of the HaTikvah had a huge impact on me.

This fuelled me with a desire and determination for more opportunities to experience the same feeling and more importantly, to spread the word so that others could get to experience something so very unique and special. We recently calculated that only around 3,500 participants in total had ever had the honour to compete for Great Britain in the 90 years since the first Maccabiah Games.

Do you think it is important to connect with Jewish people from all over the world?

I think first and foremost it’s important to connect with people of all backgrounds and cultures.

What is wonderful about the Maccabiah is that we get to share the experience with Jewish people from all over the world and engage with them, sometimes when we don’t even share a common language. We fight each other for every point, in every tackle and for every basket but at the end we share embraces, we share tears, and we sing together as one.

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