Proud flag-bearers look forward to their big moment at Florida Games

Quartet picked for role at opening ceremony in Fort Lauderdale tell of their excitement


With the start of the JCC Maccabi Games fast approaching and excitement building, Team Maccabi GB has announced who will be their flag-bearers at the tournament’s Opening Ceremony.

Gabriella Weller, Libbi Alexenicer, Rafi Pater and Ethan Tzabari have been handed the honour of leading out the Delegation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida next week.

Gabriella, who is 14, will be competing in the swimming competition.

She said: “When I found out that I’d been chosen as a flag-bearer, I felt very honoured, excited and also a little nervous. I’m very grateful that I’ve been chosen and I’m looking forward to this incredible experience.”

In what will be her first appearance at a JCC Maccabi Games, she added: “I’m excited to experience what it’s like! I’m hoping to make life-long memories with people I already know and people I meet from all around the world. I’m looking forward to competing on an international stage, and really hope to get a medal.”

It will also be the first Games for 15-year-old Libbi. Competing in the tennis, she said: “I’m so privileged to be able to hold the Team Maccabi GB flag as it’s an honour to represent my country.

"I can’t wait to compete and am thrilled at the prospect of making many memories alongside my friends and teammates. A medal would be lovely too.”

Rafi is the youngest of the quartet, having just turned 14. He is taking part in the U14 football.

“I feel both honoured and extremely proud,” he said. I’m also a little bit nervous — walking out to thousands of people — so I hope it all goes well.”

Looking forward to competing on the global stage, he added: “I’ve played in lots of tournaments with my club (Maccabi London Lions) and school (Yavneh College), but this is without a doubt the biggest sporting event I will have ever been involved in.

“This whole experience is a chance of a lifetime. I’ve already made great friendships within my football team and some of the other sports squads and can’t wait to meet other athletes from around the world.

“We’re hoping to come back with a medal and fantastic memories to share.”
Ethan is also competing in the football tournament.

The 15-year-old said: “I can’t wait for the Games as it’s a dream come true. A cousin of mine went several years ago and since then I’ve always wanted to participate in this special event.”

He added: “I’m really looking forward to the social aspect of it so that I can meet people with similar backgrounds to me around the world.

“However, we are a very competitive group, and the main focus is to bring back the gold medal.”

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