Maccabiah Games postponed for one year due to Coronavirus

Maccabi World Union have confirmed the 2021 Maccabiah Games in Israel has been been postponed for 12 months due to the Coronavirus.


The decision to halt what is the world’s third largest sporting gathering is the latest to have hit major international competitions, with the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and European Football Championships also delayed for one year.

Nicknamed ‘the Jewish Olympics,’ the Maccabiah usually takes place every four years, and is traditionally held the year after the world Olympics, which will now be held from July 23 to August 8 next year.  The new dates for the Maccabiah are July 12-26.

The 2017 Maccabiah attracted more than 10,000 people competing across 40 sports, and the Opening Ceremony at the 21st Games was expected to take place in front of an audience of 40,000.

Maccabi World Union met earlier this week to confirm the postponement. It remains to be seen what ramifications a one-year delay would have for delegations, with major decisions on the eligibility of junior athletes for their age category and there are fears that costs could rise.

Maccabi GB are one of the largest delegations, in terms of athletes and travelling support. They have selected managers for most sports but trials have been delayed due to the ban on social gatherings with venues including Rowley Lane closed.

Commenting on the decision, Maccabi GB chairman David Pinnick said: "We are obviously disappointed but completely understand the reasons behind the postponement. This is a major sporting event which requires a significant planning period. With the current worldwide uncertainty, it is right to remove that pressure from the organisers, all the participating countries, and their athletes.

"The challenges facing the world are far more critical. We will come back bigger and stronger in the years to come, but for now along with everyone we are focussed on what can be done during this unprecedented crisis."

Team Maccabi GB General Manager Joel Nathan said: ”We have had over 400 applications to date and the majority of our management team are in place. We were planning trials, selecting uniform, arranging flights and everything else required for a squad of this size.

"While the athletes see the preparation from a sporting perspective, it takes us almost two years to prepare for the event from a logistical point of view. Taking these sorts of numbers to Israel including 200 Juniors requires meticulous and extensive planning."

Nathan continued: "While most things can be put on ice, the biggest disappointment surrounds our Junior squad where the tournaments are age based and may mean that some athletes will now miss out if they will no longer qualify within the potential new age groups as they would have done, in 2021.”

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