Competitive Lifesaving, Makes Debut at Maccabiah Games

July 20, 2022 by TPS
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Surf lifesaving competitions will make a first appearance in Israel at the 2022 Maccabiah Games as an exhibition sport at Poleg Beach, Netanya, at the Maccabiah Village but Australia is not fielding competitors.

Israeli surf live savers in training with nippers

At the initiative of the Israel Life Saving Federation (ILSF), Maccabi World Union has introduced Competitive Lifesaving Sports as a new exhibition sport in the 2022 Maccabiah.

Surf lifesaving is a multi-faceted sport and social movement that combines surf awareness, swimming, lifesaving techniques and general fitness, based on the Australian model for surf lifesaving and water safety. Lifesaving sports activities consist of elements of rescue, such as speed of reaction, running, swimming, or board paddling towards a person at sea and back with them in the shortest time. The competitions consist of performing various tasks in teams and as individuals, such as those performed by lifeguards at the beach

The events in Israel are hosted by the ILSF, a nonprofit volunteer-based organisation and member of the International Life Saving Federation, comprising 148 national federations, that seeks to prevent drownings through education and practical courses for all age groups.

Participating in the inaugural demonstration event at the Maccabiah at Poleg Beach this week will be participants from around the world, including from Israel, Morocco, France, Singapore, South Africa, and Poland. The event will be judged by judges of the International Life Saving Federation from Morocco, Germany and England.

Paul Hakim, a native of Australia, is CEO and co-founder of ILSF. Hakim took his passion for the beach and Australian surf lifesaving culture and brought the Nippers program to Israel, together with his brother, Danny Hakim. The ILSF runs year-round water safety and surf rescue programs for children and adults, provides water safety volunteer teams to staff national swimming events, and lobbies Israel’s national and local governments to prevent drownings along the country’s coasts.

Hakim said that he is “delighted that the Maccabiah recognises surf lifesaving as an important sport to demonstrate on an international platform.” To date, ILSF course graduates since 2019 have performed more than 70 rescues.

Roy Hessing, Maccabiah’s Chief Executive Officer, stated that “the introduction of surf lifesaving in Israel, which is not a new movement in other parts of the world, is a step in the right direction to establish a nationwide water safety awareness and rescue culture.”

Extremely popular in Australia and New Zealand, surf lifesaving carnivals on the beach have a strong presence in Canada, the US and Europe.

After the 2022 Maccabiah Games, the sport is also vying for a place at the 2028 L.A. Olympics and the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

For Maccabiah news, check Maccabi Australia’s Facebook page

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