Maccabi GB have selected the GB Table Tennis Squad for this summer’s Maccabiah Games in Israel.
The squad is made up of four teams – Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Open Men and Masters – and is spearheaded by multi-medal winner and Maccabiah stalwart Dov Katz, also co-chair of the Maccabi GB international table tennis committee.
The delegation features the cream of English Jewish Table Tennis talent, many of whom have Maccabiah experience, with a number of highly-ranked England players.
The Junior Boys team features Jack Josephs, a double-gold-medal winner at the last European Maccabi Games in Vienna and current England Junior No. 60; and the trio of Sasha Somers, Joseph Klein and Ronen Weinstein, who are all competing in their first Maccabiah Games.
The Junior Girls Team has two athletes - Zoe Waxkirsh, England Junior Girls No. 151, and Sharon Bamberg – both of whom will also be competing in their maiden Maccabiah.
The Open Men and Masters Teams are laced with players who have international experience. These include Ashley Stokes, medal-winner at both the 2009 Maccabiah Games and 2011 European Maccabi Games and current England Men’s no. 71; Louis Rosenthal, multi-medal winner at numerous Maccabiah Games and former England U21 no. 2; Rafi Marom, playing in his third Maccabiah and who earned the highest medal haul by any GB table tennis player at the 2004 JCC Maccabi Games; and former European Maccabi Games bronze medallist, Guy Ben-Aroya, who will be featuring in his first Maccabiah. Another former European Maccabi Games athlete, Michael Gerrard, leads the Masters Team in his debut Maccabiah Games.
Team Manager Dov Katz said: "Table Tennis is one of the few sports that Jewish players excel at on the national stage and we are privileged to boast a squad which includes an array of nationally ranked players. With the athletes we’ve got, our Men’s Open Team have every chance of winning a medal and emulating the 2009 Men’s Squad [who won bronze]. Our Junior Team also comprises top players alongside some up-and-coming stars, and Mike Gerrard, another talented player and member of the 2007 European Maccabi Games squad, leads the Masters team."
Speaking about his goals for the 19th Maccabiah he said: "At the European Maccabi Games in Vienna in 2011, we had unprecedented success winning three golds, three silvers and three bronzes with each member of the squad winning a medal. Israel this summer will be a much tougher competition but we are confident that we will do well. We have selected a squad that has a beautiful blend of international experience and Maccabiah debutants, both strong in ability and individuals that understand the Maccabi ethos. Whilst we want to come back with medals, making Jewish friends from all over the world will be the defining legacy of this squad.
"We have a superb committee in place comprising myself, Lee Vandermolen as my co-Chair, Mel Davidson, the Chairman of Maccabi GB Table Tennis and Junior Team Manager Yoni Caspi, who himself is an excellent player, and we are all working hard to ensure that everyone has an enriching and life-changing experience."
Maccabi GB Table Tennis chairman Mel Davidson said: "Our Senior Team is made up of players who are currently or have recently earned their living from playing and teaching the sport of Table Tennis, making them by definition true professionals. They are held in high regard by players from within and outside the Jewish Table Tennis fraternity and as a team are of a standard to be envious of. For these reasons I am confident that they can achieve a medal-winning position."
19th Maccabiah GB Table Tennis Committee:
Dov Katz - Co-Chair
Lee Vandermolen - Co-Chair
Mel Davidson - Chairman of Maccabi GB Table Tennis
Junior Team Manager:
Maccabi GB is still looking for Masters (40+) players and any interested applicants are encouraged to complete the online application form which is available from www.maccabigb.org.