With only two days remaining in the Maccabiah, the pressure is on to grab some hardware before it all runs out.
Sunday’s action saw a number of teams snag gold as the games entered their final stretch.
Israel’s netball team on Sunday lost to Australia, finishing with a silver medal in the four-nation tournament. After participating in three previous Maccabiah events and not winning a single game, this year the team overcame Great Britain for its first-ever Maccabiah victory, and later beat South Africa en route to the finals.
Earlier in the day, Israel’s junior team won the bronze medal after overcoming a tough South African side in the battle for third place, possibly making a statement about the future of the sport in Israel.
Masters tennis gold medal matches were held in Jerusalem. Adam Beren, who won the 50-year-old masters double gold medal, spoke with The Times of Israel shortly after the match.
“It was very exciting and rewarding because I practiced a lot to prepare for the tournament,” said Beren. In addition, Beren said, he was simply happy to be back in Israel after a long absence and bring home a gold medal.
“It was awesome coming back and playing tennis in Israel after 32 years, when I played in the 11th Maccabiah. It was so nice being able to combine my love of tennis with my love of Israel. I am very excited to bring home the gold to Wichita, Kansas, for the USA.”
Sunday’s basketball and soccer semifinals set the ground for the last games, set to be played Monday evening. At the Malha arena in Jerusalem, the US edged Israel 77-73.
Israel was led by Igor Mayor, who scored 16 points, and current Maccabi Rishon Lezion player Or Solomon, who contributed 15 points. The United States secured the victory with clutch plays by Daniel Rubin and Will Tashman. Brian Cohen scored a team-high 18 points for the US.
“Our guys are really enjoying the whole experience. The fact that we are going to play in a goal medal game is amazing, but this whole tournament is much bigger than just basketball for our guys; some are visiting Israel for the first time,” US head coach Brad Greenberg told The Times of Israel after the game. “I am glad our guys got to get a real feel for what Israel is all about.”
In the second semifinal of the night, Argentina defeated France 89-79. Once again, Argentina’s commander on the floor was Andres Berman. Berman, who plays professional basketball in Argentina, scored 27 points and played every minute of the game. Even more important to note is Argentina was missing one of their best players in Lucas Saul, who hurt his shoulder in Argentina’s triumph over the United States earlier in the tournament.
“The United States is scared of us because we beat them and that we fully expect to win the gold,” Martin Marias of Argentina told The Times of Israel moments after his team made it through to the finals, setting the stage for the much-anticipated game between the two teams.
In men’s open football semifinal games held Sunday, Argentina defeated Mexico 3-2 and the United States blew by Canada. As a result, the finals will present yet another showdown between the Argentinian and US delegations.
Over the weekend, the Australians dominated the Maccabiah’s triathlon, held Friday in Tiberias. In the 60-65 race, Neil Slonim won gold in the men’s category while Deborah Shapiro finished second in the women’s, rounding up a good day for the delegation from Down Under.
Adriel Young, who joined the Australian delegation with slightly under a year of competitive experience, finished first in the 25- to 29-year-old’s category. “I had a good race, it panned out well,” he told Maccabi Australia’s official site. “I was hunted down in the last few kilometers but I kicked into gear and had a good race.”