Team Maccabi GB teenagers off to a flying start in Florida

Nearly 60 young athletes are attending the JCC Maccabi Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Team Maccabi GB have sent nearly 60 young athletes to the JCC Maccabi Games in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, comprising eight squads participating in five different sports. The ten days of action test the finest 13-16-year-old Jewish athletes — totalling 1,800 — from around the world, including North and South America, Israel, Europe and Africa.

Team Maccabi GB’s JCC Games squad got their campaign off to a flying start with five medals on the first day of competition, which also featured a memorable opening ceremony.

The swimming event is one of the toughest contested events at the Games, but GB’s swimmers very much held their own. Joe Kaye claimed GB’s first swimming medal with a bronze in the 500m freestyle event. Yali Zmora set an impressive time of 26.92 seconds in the 50m freestyle event, coming 5th, while Gabriella Weller posted 1.15.44 in the 100m butterfly.

Four GB tennis players won both their matches, with the other five winning one of their first two. Tennis manager Benjamin Sweiry said: “The heat and humidity makes it a tricky test, but our players have been coping extremely well. The competition seems strong, but we’re looking forward to building on our good work over the rest of the tournament.” 

The U16 Boys football team got their tournament off to a winning start. Edward Goldman struck twice in their first game to secure a 2-0 win over a mixed team that included Fort Lauderdale, before he netted twice more, with Alex Levene also finding the back of the net, in a 3-0 win over Argentina. 

The U16 Girls football team also got off to a strong start with Alex Furman’s double and Leah Nelson’s strike seeing them to a 3-2 win over a mixed team,  but lost 5-4 to a strong Philadelphia side.

The U14 Boys team lost to North Miami Beach but bounced back in emphatic style to win their second game 9-3 against a mixed team that included Dallas. The U14 girls’ team picked up back-to-back wins that included an impressive 5-1 against a mixed side including Fort Lauderdale and LA Westside.

The Team Maccabi GB Dance girls won four medals. Jess Petar won GB’s first gold medal in the contemporary dance category. Etta Saunders took silver in ballet and then picked up another silver for her ballet duet with Jess Petar, who also won her second medal. The Team Maccabi GB dance team then won silver in the contemporary team dance category and a further three choreography awards.

 It was a clean sweep for GB’s table tennis players as Tamara Felix, Charlie Loble and Rafi Zakaim all won without dropping a set.

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