WHILE SPORT is extremely low in priorities when it comes to the wider picture of the current Israel-Gaza conflict, that’s not to say it hasn’t had a detrimental effect on Israeli sport. From football to tennis, basketball to swimming, matches, events and entire tournaments set to be held in Israel are feeling the brunt, either being moved or cancelled completely. Only four months ago, Israel were told they would be staging their first top-tier tennis event in nearly two decades. They were then told on Monday that security concerns meant it was no longer feasible. Earvin “Magic” Johnson, along with several other NBA legends was due to officially open Jerusalem’s new basketball arena next month, though that trip has now been cancelled, while a Davis Cup play-off tie, and numerous European football matches have also been switched. There are of course much more pressing matters to be dealt with in the region. Sport though, so often used as a tool to promote peace in the region, is in this instance powerless.
SPEAKING of the current conflict and sport, Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, sent a letter to the parents of Max Steinberg, a 24-year-old southern Californian who joined the IDF and died in Gaza two weeks ago. Spotting him wearing a Patriots hat, Kraft wrote to Steinberg’s parents, saying: “(Max) represents the consummate patriot, and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he made to keep our beloved Israel safe.”
HE MAY for once not have been in the medals this weekend, but open water swimmer Adam Warner did find himself up against world-class athletes as he competed at the British Gas national open water championships in Sheffield. Finishing in ninth place, he found himself up against a tough field, though nevertheless still managed to finish in a faster time than last weekend. Claiming he’s learning with every passing race, he’s now taking a short break, before gearing up for the Eton long swim in late September where he’ll be looking to compete in the 10k race.