Kogus Wins Masters Tennis

July 20, 2011 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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Maccabi tennis stalwart Ilan Kogus won the Masters over-65 tennis tournament at the European Maccabi Games in Vienna last week.

Ilan Kogus (l)

And although we can’t literally say that he ‘brought home the gold’, he brings back a whole lot of fond memories.

“My gold medal was stolen (on the way home to Sydney)!” Ilan said.

“But that is not important. I will never forget the spirit of Maccabi (that was on show in Vienna). That is the beauty of such games.

“It’s the aspect I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. It was so nice, so special. I think I made friends forever.

“(When) my grand-children will ask me about Maccabi, this is what I’ll tell them. Winning a tournament is not so important. The love for each other, Israel, Maccabi … knowing I am a member of an organisation with the spirit like Maccabi, inspires me for the future.”

Kogus, who developed Maccabi Australia’s Leadership Program, said the tournament, played on clay, was the most gruelling he’s ever experienced. He will never question the toughness of clay court tennis players again!

“It was the hardest in my life; on clay, hot, long matches, long points, very difficult. Mentally and physically,” he told Maccabi News.

Ilan, who is already planning his tilt at Maccabiah 2013, says the “competitiveness” of the field in Vienna was “unbelievable”, but he feels he won because of his “mental strength”.

“I will never forget the spirit of Maccabi (that was on show in Vienna). That is the beauty of such games”

“Physically, I wasn’t the fittest player there, tennis wise my technique was ok, but they were better, they play on clay.

“Mentally I hung in there. I would say I used patience, and used in some matches, survival, because my body was on fire; in so much pain.”

Kogus, who has been part of Maccabi in Australia since 1991, says the spirit of the participants got him over the line – as he was the only solo participant in Australia’s squad.

“I set a goal to go and play and win this tournament a long time ago.

“I didn’t know I would be there alone.

“But I must give credit to the spirit of Maccabi – I teamed up with English team that was there; they were fantastic to me.

“I trained with them in the morning. Talked to them in the afternoon. Spent time with them. This is the spirit of Maccabi.”

He also wants to “give credit to the outstanding team manager Peter Grunfeld … Maccabi Australia’s Harry Procel for his support … and the Australian futsal squad … they said I inspired them, but, they were a fantastic bunch of kids. They inspired me.”

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