Medals for Sam…and maybe for the Matildas

December 30, 2011 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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Veteran table tennis player Sam Parasol will bring two bronze medals home from the Maccabi Pan America Games in Sao Paolo…and the women’s football team is still in with medal hopes.

Sam Parasol

Parasol, who also sits on the Maccabi Australia board, picked up his medals in the masters’ singles, and in the opens teams event, alongside his Canadian and American teammates.
Sam has been a safe bet to return with a medal at international Maccabi meets over the years; Sao Paulo is his third Pan America Games, which sit alongside a CV featuring six appearances at the Maccabiah Games since 1977.
Although heavily involved behind the scenes back home, Sam always makes a point to enjoy international tours as a competitor. He is our second medallist in Sao Paulo, behind swimmer Trevor Wainstein.
“While I can stand on my own two feet, I like to compete still when we go on international tours,” Sam quipped after receiving his medal.
“I make a point of going away as a player. When we’re at home, I can do plenty of work for the organisation.”
Sam, who says his involvement in the organisation harks back almost 50 years from his days in Maccabi carnivals, explained what continues to attract him to Maccabi’s festivals of international sport.
“Seeing all the Jewish kids, people, together, united as one is wonderful,” he added.
“Jewish continuity is one of the reasons I continue to be involved.”

Meanwhile, the medals dreams are still alive for the Matildas…the Australian women’s soccer team.

Australia’s Jewish Matildas enjoyed a breakthrough 3-0 win over Venezuela on Thursday to all but ensure a passage through to the semi-finals.
Genia Avram’s well deserved goal released the pressure valve early in the second-half, before captain-coach Tal Karp weighed in with a second-half brace.

The Matildas

Unless Venezuela cause a major boilover and beat Brazil on Friday, the girls will qualify for the second stage of the tournament.
With so much on the line, it was a nervous start by the Australian girls. Although Amy Seskin was barely tested throughout the match – receiving great protection from Alice Kriesler and Raphaela Waltman in the centre of defence – it was down the other end of the field the girls couldn’t quite get it right early on.
Avram, playing up front, looked dangerous all match, despite carrying a leg injury. She had the Venezuelan defence on notice all half, and was desperately unlucky to see another long-range free-kick rattle the crossbar – the third time this tournament.
Both sides were camped in the Venezuelan half, and it seemed Australia were queuing up for the chance to score. Karp let fire a couple of times, Laura Waltman forced the ‘keeper into a save, while Naomi Mossenson was also finding herself in positive areas in the attacking third.
Gemma Adelman was finding plenty of space down the left flank, and came close with a header late in the first period, while Louise Segan came on midway through the first half and was also a positive influence down the wing. Down the right, Lani Kahn’s perseverance paid off with a number of lung-busting defensive efforts, keeping the Venezuelans pegged down their own end.

Although it was 0-0 at the interval, if the Aussies kept their cool, then there were goals on offer for them.
Sure enough, their effort paid off when Venezuela’s goalkeeper could only parry a long-range shot. Avram was first on the mark to bury the ball in the back of the net.
There were sighs of relief all around. And from there, we saw the best of the Australian attack as they started to run rings around their opposition.
Ariella Hochberg came on for a powerful cameo; almost scoring with a header, while providing decent balls into the area. Adelman, one of the youngest girls on the pitch, fashioned another chance with her head, while the team’s ability to keep the ball and play it around the pitch skyrocketed as they became more relaxed.
It was inevitable that Karp, who continues to be the dominant influence while also directing traffic around the field, was going to find the back of the net.
She was rewarded with a deflected goal midway through the second term, before guiding the team’s third goal home with a clean volley from the edge of the area.
The girls were now enjoying themselves. Deena Metz and Terri Lazarus, both solid defensively all match, had a bit more room to get involved from the fullback positions. Talya Mossenson came on and enjoyed her longest hit-out of the tournament at centre-back after recovering from injury.
There were celebrations all around – on Tal’s ‘Aussie’ birthday – as the girls’ hard work paid off with a really encouraging display.
The only downside was a hip injury to Lauren Broit, who might be in doubt for the next clash, and a yellow card to Avram, which will see her miss the side’s clash against USA on Friday.

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