Australia’s Maccabiah delegation could top Rio numbers

April 25, 2016 by David Weiner
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The Australian delegation to the 2017 Maccabiah in Israel could top 500 according to organisers.

With the majority of coaches, managers and senior administrators appointed to the delegation, and just a handful of staff roles still to be appointed, the next phase turns to what Maccabiah is all about…sport.

Tom York

Tom York

Early indications are that Australia is set for a delegation in the vicinity of 500, with an outstanding turnout in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne for the first athlete information sessions.

Head of Delegation Tom York was enthused by the early vibe from the first glimpse of the community’s interest in the upcoming Games.

“In a recent Sydney Sunday paper there was an article about the Australian Olympic team going to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games, where they will be taking a delegation of 436 athletes,” York said.

“Based on the incredible interest shown by athletes and parents so far we may have a larger delegation than the Australian Olympic team.”

Athlete online nominations open on 1 May ahead of trials taking place over the rest of 2016. Prospective athletes need to nominate online at Maccabi’s website from 1 May, where they will also be able to find the ‘Athlete Selection Criteria’, including all the information needed about trials, qualifying times and what to do to be available for selection.

Nikki Burger

Nikki Burger

General Manager Nikki Burger said the next period will be pivotal and exciting on the road to the 20th Games.

“Trials will be well underway and we will be naming athletes to the team,” she said.

“Monthly management meetings and quarterly athlete development workshops – all geared toward the best prepared team will also be taking place.

“We will be reinforcing the positive culture and team unity. There are rules of course, but based on the belief of how we want to be and with high personal standards.”

Josh Kestenberg has just been appointed Head Physio, while Brett Frenkiel and Dror Maor will be on board in Sports Physician and Sports Orthopaedic roles respectively.

For the first time, the delegation will include a Team Psychologist, to be announced imminently, who will work with athletes and officials over the next 14 months.

Meanwhile, York and Burger will be joined by Sam Gamsu (Deputy General Manager for Juniors) and Karen Holloway (Team Operations Coordinator) in Tel Aviv next month for important discussions on the Games at Maccabi World Union’s Plenum.

They will be joined by Logistics Director Tom Goldman for crucial reconnaissance in Haifa, which is where Australia’s Pre Games Training Camp will be held, as well as the Maccabiah’s junior sport. This is a first both for Maccabiah junior sport as well as Australia at the Games, with the local council supporting the green and gold’s Pre Camp program.

“We chose the City of Haifa because of its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, numerous and well located training facilities in close proximity to our hotel and light touring opportunities,” York said.

“We want our athletes to be well acclimatised, refreshed and relaxed and feeling strong for a magnificent Maccabiah Games experience.”

Burger added: “For us, it’s keeping it fresh: a new vision, new management team, there’s a diversity.

Pre camp in Haifa is a first and Haifa offers so much in terms of relaxed environment for our athletes to acclimatize and adjust from travel and time zone changes, the heat and where they can focus on their final important preparations as individuals and team strategies.”


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