Awards night celebrates the best in Jewish sport
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MACCABI AUSTRALIA

Awards night celebrates the best in Jewish sport

National Jewish Sportsman of the Year, Steve Solomon.
National Jewish Sportsman of the Year, Steve Solomon.

It was Australian Jewish sport’s night of nights on June 2, as Daniel Garb hosted online the first combined national, NSW and Victorian Maccabi Sport Awards ceremony.

Rising snooker and billiards player Marc Fridman, the reigning U21 Victorian state champion, was named Victorian Jewish Sportsman of the Year.

And 400m runner Steve Solomon – who reached the semis at the Tokyo Olympics after posting a PB time of 44.94, his first PB since the 2012 London Olympics – won the equivalent NSW and national awards.

In a video message, Solomon reflected that when competing, “I very much feel like I represent Australia, my family, the Jewish community, and Maccabi.

“Sport is such a vehicle for growth, and it’s awesome to see Maccabi acknowledging and prioritising it.”

The 29-year-old added that after the disappointment of missing out on the 2016 Olympics by four one-hundredths of a second, to return to career-best form in Tokyo draws on the value of perseverance, “and it’s re-energised me towards the back end of my career”.

National Jewish Sportswoman of the Year, Jessica Fox.

Whitewater paddler Jessica Fox – who triumphantly won her first Olympic gold medal in Tokyo in her third Olympics – was named NSW and National Jewish Female Sportswoman of the Year.

The Victorian winner was Jemima Montag, who came sixth in her first Olympic women’s 20km race walk in Tokyo, and recently broke a 22-year-old Australian record held by Jane Saville.

Victorian Jewish Sportswoman of the Year, Jemima Montag.

The Maccabi Australia President’s Award went to the Jewish athletes who represented Australia in Tokyo – Fox, Solomon, Montag, para swimmer Matt Levy, and judoka Nathan Katz.

In video messages, Montag and Levy thanked Maccabi for their support, and Montag celebrated Maccabi as being about “getting to the start line, giving it your all, making friends, and enjoying and reaping the physical and mental health benefits”.

Paralympian swimmer Matt Levy.

The Maccabi Victorian President’s Award went to Clive Aaron and Mark Roseman, who worked hard to establish Maccabi Aquatics at Bialik College, and Maccabi AJAX Swimming Club.

Levy won the NSW and National All Abilities Award, while teenage track and field athlete Ori Drabkin – who set Australian U17 and U20 T35 para records when winning the 100m and 400m events at the nationals – was the Victorian All-Abilities winner.

Drabkin was also a joint National Jewish Junior Sportsman of the Year recipient, with NSW-based cyclist Brayden Bloch, who was the 2021 NSW State U19 men’s criterium champion, and came seventh at the U19 nationals.

Ori Drabkin. Photo: Peter Haskin

Drabkin and Bloch both expressed ambitions to one day achieve their dreams of competing at the Paralympics and Olympics respectively.

“I’ll start with the World Championships next year, and have a go at that first,” Drabkin said.

Bloch added “My dad, Sean, was an Olympian cyclist … and I thought, I want to do the same thing – that’s sort of how it all started.”

Brayden Bloch.

The Victorian Jewish Junior Sportswoman of the Year is 2021 Victorian weightlifting female 64kg weight class youth, junior and U23 division champion Layla Bloom, and the NSW and national winner is U16 girls’ 2021 national, NSW and ACT javelin champion Tali Baltineshter.

Bloom and Baltineshter will represent Australia in the junior competition at next month’s 21st Maccabiah Games in Israel.

“I’ve been focusing on my technique so I can peak at Maccabiah, and hopefully come back with gold,” Baltineshter said.

She also received the 2022 Maccabi Australia Rudi Roth Scholarship, worth $5000.

Tali Baltineshter.

Meyer Vorchheimer, the Victorian Masters men’s 75-79 60m sprint champion, won the Victorian and National Masters Sportsman of the Year award.

Professor Paul Zimmett won the inaugural Maccabi Life National Wellbeing Award, and the first Maccabi National Outstanding Service Award was shared by the head managers of Australia’s 2022 Maccabiah Games delegation, Sam Gamsu and Giselle Berlinski.

“It’s a team effort, so this award really goes to all of our volunteers,” Gamsu said.

Giselle Berlinski and Sam Gamsu.
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