589 heading for the Maccabiah
Australia’s 2017 Maccabiah Games management gathered in Wollongong in New South Wales for a leadership summit headlined by a keynote address from AOC Chef De Mission to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Kitty Chiller.
With less than three months to leaving for Israel, all senior management, regional leadership, team managers, security, medical, media and coaching staff started putting the final touches on ensuring the best sporting experience for the country’s 589 strong delegation heading in June to the 20th edition of the world’s third biggest sporting event.
“It was an extremely productive weekend, one where we saw real proof of why the Maccabiah Games organisers are describing Australia as the most advanced delegation ahead of the Games,” Head of Delegation Tom York said.
“There is much excitement building across the Maccabi community across the country at the moment, and the weekend ensures that we are doing everything possible to create the best sporting, and life experience, for our athletes.
“This leadership group is hard-working, passionate, diverse and very experienced – I am confident we are on track to achieve something wonderful.”
Maccabi Australia President Barry Smorgon said: “I think this weekend has shown that this group can and will overcome whatever hurdles will come our way”.
With the leadership team comprised primarily of volunteers putting in exhausting hours to get the team to Israel, Smorgon told them
“Maccabiah is a big deal,” he said.
“It consumes enormous amounts of time from an essentially volunteer group. It costs a lot of money …
“Maccabiah, the ‘Jewish Olympics’ is important for the entire Community and is not only about winning medals alone.
“It allows Jewish people to express to themselves, their community and the broader world that we, as Jews, can and do love the thrill of sporting competition.
“It is something to celebrate for the sheer joy of competing with Jews from around the world in a friendly environment.”
General Manager Nikki Burger and Team Operations Coordinator Karen Holloway facilitated a weekend that included briefings from the entire Maccabiah senior management: David Michaelson (security), Bob Mundell (medical), Tom Goldman (Logistics) and David Weiner (media).
In addition to a number of workshops and scenario problem solving situations, the group participated in a panel discussion with Maccabiah veteran Anthony Goodridge, Cycling manager and 1992 Barcelona Olympian Sean Bloch, Winter Olympics physiotherapist Ashley Merkur and the first Australian Maccabiah psychologist, Mel Weinberg, for insights into the various challenges that will arise in the coming months.
The climax of the workshop was a raw, honest discussion chaired by Fox Sports presenter Daniel Garb, a member of the 2017 media team, as Chiller provided a range of invaluable insights into the management of a large sporting team, building a team culture, remaining resilient while sticking true to a defined philosophy and set of values.
The workshop kicks off a busy period in the build-up to the Games.
This week, York will present the Maccabiah torch to Emmanuel School, Moriah and Mt Sinai colleges, before two lucky junior athletes will take the torch to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Athletes will start to learn of their schedule from 4 May, and York and his committee are putting the finishing touches on 20th Anniversary Maccabiah Bridge Commemoration, to be followed by official team farewells, in Sydney (21 May), Melbourne (4 June) and Perth (5 June).