Team Maccabi GB make medal history at 21st Maccabiah Games

The British athletes won 57 medals - the most in the delegation's history


On Sunday, July 10, Team Maccabi GB’s 527-strong delegation arrived in Israel for the 21st Maccabiah Games. Prior to the Games, delegates took part in a programme including visits to Beit Halochem and the ANU Museum in Tel Aviv. The Juniors had an additional day of pre-camp, with squads participating in UJIA projects in Acre and Carmiel.

The opening ceremony took place on July 14 at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem. Israeli Olympic champions Linoy Ashram and Artem Dolgopyat lit the ceremonial torch, while pop singers Static and Ben El Tavori performed the official Maccabiah 2022 song, Carnival. Joe Biden became the first US president to attend the Maccabiah Games.

“I’m so damn proud of you... God speed and go get ’em, guys,” he said.

After a flurry of medals in previous games, fencer Richard Bernstein got his hands on his first International Games gold in the Open sabre team event. Alongside him was Roman Norris, who won not just one but two gold medals, winning the Open sabre fencing event. Amanda Lourie and Vanessa Lemer won silvers in the Junior girls epée competition, while Masters fencer Nicholas Lakeland won medals in three fencing disciplines (epée, foil and sabre).

Despite suffering a hand injury and competing against Israeli Olympians, Open fencer Amanda Mond won a silver (team foil) and bronze (individual foil). Every fencer in the squad went home a medallist.

It was an incredible Games for our Masters swimming squad, picking up an impressive ten medals. Darren Brova, who won the most medals of any athlete in the delegation, remarkably gave up swimming in 2003.

He rediscovered his love for the sport last year and started training for the Games, where he managed to win three silver medals (medley relay, 400m freestyle and Open water swim) and three bronze medals (200m individual medley and 200m backstroke).

Darren trained alongside his friend Nizza Fluss who also became a medallist at the Games, winning two silvers (4x50 freestyle relay and Open Water Swim) and two bronzes (100m backstroke and 200m breaststroke). Elizabeth Jacobs put in a display for the ages, becoming the first Junior medallist in the Open Water Swim for 40 years.

The 2022 Junior golf team will go down in the record books as the most successful Team Maccabi GB golf squad of all time. With a gold and two silvers the team, led by manager Ben Brownson, won more medals than any previous squad before.

The closing ceremony for the golf event was special, with two of our individual athletes on the podium at the same time.

Samson Bloom won gold in the individual net competition; he was joined by silver medallist Noah Menashe. The Junior squad picked up a silver medal in the gross team competition, beating a Canada squad that was stacked with single digit handicap players.

In track and field, Josh Fisher became the first Junior gold medallist after winning the 1500m race in Jerusalem. Speaking after his triumph, he said: “It was a tough race; it came down to the last lap which I knew would be between me and the Israeli runner, and I got him.”

The 800m was a successful event for Team Maccabi GB, with Rachel Pearlman winning silver in the girls race. There was also another silver in the 3km race, with Sam Greenstein putting in a great long distance display.

The futsal U18s came from 3-1 down to beat a strong Israeli side and reach the gold-medal match.

The squad exemplified a never-say-die attitude in their opening game against Mexico, and throughout the tournament. The U18 futsal side were the best-performing futsal team at the Games, winning silver.

Open cricket manager Rafi Saville spoke highly of the quality in his squad prior to the Games and they did not disappoint, beating India, Israel and Australia on their way to the final against South Africa. The two sides had met earlier in the tournament, with South Africa getting a resounding victory; in the final, though, it went down to the wire. The 2022 Team Maccabi GB Open cricket squad became the first to win gold in the history of the delegation.

The Junior netball teams were scintillating throughout the tournament. The U18s became the first team sport squad to win gold; they were unbeaten throughout the entire tournament and ended a streak which saw Australia pick up golds in the sport.

The U16s also reached the gold-medal match, losing narrowly to a strong Australia team. Masters netball made history, becoming the first Team Maccabi GB squad to take part in the event. They didn’t leave empty handed, winning bronze.

The 2022 Team Maccabi GB rugby team was one of the real stories of the games — they nearly didn’t make it to Israel but, through hard work from Jon Tyler and Abel Leaman, they secured their way into the tournament. Some may have ruled out the rugby side after a lacklustre sevens display but they remained positive and many in the camp suggested they had lured their opponents for the upcoming 15s tournament into a false sense of security. In the rugby 15s tournament they proved every single doubter wrong, with incredible wins over Israel and USA to reach the final match. A silver medal was the acme of an incredible journey for the squad.

Another success story was that of Masters squash player Dania Fried. Before the Games, general team manager Joel Nathan introduced her and said: “Dania came to us via Maccabi World Union, as she now lives in Israel. She was due to play in the games a few years ago but things never worked out and now she has the time to be part of it again, we wanted to help out to make that happen.”

Making up for lost time, Dania became the first Team Maccabi GB medallist in squash for 21 years, silver in the singles event and bronze in the team event.

First seed Josh Imber and partner Raphy Howard took silver in the Junior boys doubles tournament, being our only doubles pair to win. A Junior in Budapest and now an open athlete in Israel, Lilly Mould would translate her success into the older age bracket, winning her quarter-final, semi-final and final all by 6-0 6-0 in the bronze-medal bracket.

Elsewhere, Maccabi Man athlete Anatole Ferera showed his versatility with bronzes in both the cycling time trial and triathlon, as well as the Maccabi Man discipline as a whole.

Team Maccabi GB ended the 2022 Maccabiah with 57 medals, the most in the history of the delegation. There were six golds won (five standard and one composite), 22 silvers (15 standard and seven composite) and 29 bronzes (23 standard and six composite).

For more photos of Team Maccabi GB at the 21st Maccabiah Games, visit the JC's Facebook and Instagram pages

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