The 21st Maccabiah Games, scheduled to take place in Israel in June 2021, have been postponed for a year due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, organizers said Thursday.
The Games will instead take place on July 12-26, 2022, the Maccabi World Union Congress said.
The primary reason for delaying the competition was the separate postponement of the Olympics from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are satisfied with the decision made to postpone Maccabiah this year, even though it has not happened in the past. We will continue to prepare with our many partners, in Israel and around the world, to best meet the 21st Maccabiah in the summer of 2022,” Maccabi World Union Congress chairman Roy Hessing said in a statement.
Known as the “Jewish Olympics,” the Maccabiah Games bring together thousands of athletes from over 80 countries to compete in over 40 sports once every four years. In 2017, more than 10,000 athletes competed. It’s the third-largest sporting event in the world, according to organizers.
The Maccabiah Games were the launching pad for many international Jewish sports stars. Many return to play or coach in the games.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced its first-ever peacetime postponement.
The International Olympics Committee had for weeks insisted the show could go on, but the rapid spread of COVID-19 prompted growing disquiet among athletes and sporting federations.
The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus, which has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sports.
Agencies contributed to this report.