AS I pen this looking out from my Netanya balcony for the final time, it’s an appropriate moment to reflect on what has been a fantastic fortnight of Maccabiah action.
When you consider some of the performances earning us 31 medals and the opposition our delegation faced, pride and nachas sum up the achievements. Those fortunate to be in Netanya on Sunday to witness the junior football team beat Israel on penalties to win gold will never forget the moment they witnessed history and the sheer jubilation etched on the faces of the players, managers and GB’s ‘barmy army’ (mostly the parents). But the Games were littered with such wonderful stories.
I don’t think anyone will mind me saying the Games’ arguable standout moment didn’t take place in the field, but at the Kotel on Monday morning, when open futsal player Ricky Engleman was barmitzvahed. Emotional, powerful and symbolic, it was a touching moment to bring down the curtain on a memorable experience and summed up just what these great Games are all about.
Where do we go from here? Well, home for a start and a well-deserved rest for all involved. But, focusing on the tremendous success GB have enjoyed here, particularly from the juniors, this is hopefully just the beginning. Speaking to David Kyte, the head of Team GB, and Michael Ziff, chairman of Maccabi GB, the hope is to build on this success. To develop other sports leagues back home, to get more people involved in sport and taking this glorious fortnight as inspiration and drive for future success. Hopefully this will continue in Berlin in two years’ time at the European Games, before we do this all over again at the 2017 Maccabiah!