The 2021 Maccabiah Games have been postponed for a year due to the worldwide coronavirus crisis.
In a statement Thursday announcing the move to July 2022, the Maccabi World Union said the main reason was not to have the 21st games coincide with the Tokyo Olympics, which last week were postponed from this summer to 2021. This allows Jewish athletes to participate in both major sporting events.
Thousands of athletes from over 80 countries arrive in Israel to compete every four years in the Maccabiah Games, which take place the year after the Olympics.
In 1932, the first Maccabiah Games featured some 390 athletes from 18 countries.
Maccabi Great Britain sent a delegation of over 400 to the last Maccabiah in 2017. Its Chairman, David Pinnick said: “ We are obviously disappointed but completely understand the reasons behind the postponement. This is a major sporting event which requires a significant planning period. With the current worldwide uncertainty, it is right to remove that pressure from the organisers, all the participating countries, and their athletes.
Joel Nathan, Team Maccabi GB General Manager added, ”We have had over 400 applications to date and the majority of our management team are in place. We were planning trials, selecting uniform, arranging flights and everything else required for a squad of this size. Whilst the athletes see the preparation from a sporting perspective, it takes us almost 2 years to prepare for the event from a logistical point of view. Taking these sorts of numbers to Israel including 200 Juniors requires meticulous and extensive planning.”
Joel continued, “Whilst most things can be put on ice, the biggest disappointment surrounds our Junior squad where the tournaments are age based and may mean that some athletes will now miss out if they will no longer qualify within the potential new age groups as they would have done, in 2021.”