THE nominees and winners for the 2019 Maccabi Victoria and Maccabi Australia Sport Awards were both announced in a special presentation to Maccabi members and supporters via video conferencing platform Zoom on Wednesday night (May 13) that featured Maccabi Victoria president Brian Swersky and Member for Caulfield David Southwick.
Swersky described the annual awards as acknowledging “those Maccabi stars that shine brightest, both on and off the sporting arena, exemplifying all that Maccabi stands for”.
“In these difficult times it is more important than ever before to remain connected and continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our community sporting heroes and volunteers … please join us in congratulating this year’s award recipients.”
2019 Maccabi Victoria Sport awards
Held one month after the Maccabi NSW Sport Awards, the big winners in the awards for Victoria included 22-year-old race walker Jemima Montag, who was crowned Sportswoman of the Year, and Sportsman of the Year, veteran cricketer Michael Klinger.
Montag performed brilliantly last year, winning silver medals at the Oceania Race Walking Championships in Adelaide and World University Games in Naples, before finishing 10th against the best female race walkers on the planet in scorching conditions in Doha at the IAAF Athletics World Championships.
Other nominees for the award were judoka Aimee Aharoni and football goalkeeper Melissa Maizels.
Klinger finished his two-decade playing career as an opening batsman in the first two-thirds of 2019 in style by scoring plenty of runs for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League and for Gloucestershire in the T20 Vitality Blast, helping guide the UK club into the quarter-finals. He then became head coach of the Melbourne Renegades.
The other nominee for the award was Marc Fridman, who was named Junior Sportsman of the Year in recognition of winning the 2019 Australian U21 Billiards Championships, being a finalist at the Australian U18 Snooker Championships and competing at the U21 World Snooker Championships.
Rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva, 18, won the Junior Sportswoman award ahead of fellow nominees Aimee Aharoni (judo), Noa Kino (athletics) and Ashley Weill (swimming).
Kiroi-Bogatyreva won six golds at the 2019 Australian Gymnastics Championships and finished 37th at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, and 24th at a World Challenge Cup tournament in Tashkent.
Maccabi Athletics Club member Ori Drabkin, 15, was named All Abilities Sportsperson of the Year, and was also nominated for Junior Sportsman of the Year.
Among Drabkin’s achievements in 2019 was becoming the national 100m T35 class boys’ U16 champion and breaking T35 U16 boys’ 100m and 200m records.
Swimmer Michael Carp pipped fellow nominee and hockey player Norman Same to win the award for Masters Sportsman of the Year.
Carp represented Australia at the 2019 FINA World Masters Swimming Championships in South Korea in five events in the men’s 50-54 age category, his best result being seventh in the 200 backstroke final.
Masters Sportswoman of the Year went to weightlifter Leora Yates, who won women’s masters gold medals at the 2019 Victorian, Oceania and World Championships.
Six people won Maccabi volunteer awards – Barb Bejer (all abilities), Ilia Eligulachvili (athletics), Daniel Grunfeld (hockey), Alan Hayden (swimming), Marc Listmangof (table tennis) and Nathan Simon (lawn bowls).
Mandy Caplan, who is a committee member at AJAX Footy Club and women’s team manager, received the Len Bogatin Award for volunteering, and Maccabi Victoria secretary and board member Samuel Strunin won the President’s Award.
2019 Maccabi Australia Sport awards
Recipients of Maccabi Victoria Sport Awards made up five of the seven sportspeople who won national Maccabi awards.
They included Michael Klinger (Sportsman of the Year), Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva (Junior Sportswoman of the Year), Marc Fridman (Junior Sportsman of the Year), Leora Yates (Masters Sportswoman of the Year) and Michael Carp (Masters Sportsman of the Year).
Sydneysiders who won Maccabi Australia Sport Awards were Jessica Fox (Sportswoman of the Year) and Matt Levy (All Abilities Sportsperson of the Year).
Fox, 25, is an Olympic Games silver and bronze medallist and the reigning canoe slalom women’s world number one.
She began 2019 by winning the Oceania single canoe (C1) title and gold in the Australian Open single kayak (K1), and went on to win the women’s World Cup series and finish runner-up in the K1 and C1 finals at the World Championships.
Paralympian Levy, 33, won bronze at the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships in Australia’s men’s freestyle relay team, and came fourth in the men’s 200m individual medley and fifth in the S7 class men’s 100m freestyle.
He also won two golds at the 2019 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide and three golds and one silver at the 2019 National Short Course Championships in Melbourne, where he broke two world records.
The Administrator of the Year award went to Melburnian Geoff Lipshut.
Nachum Buch Scholarships were awarded to swimmers Matt Levy and Ashley Weill, and 18-year-old Sydney karate athlete and Australian junior squad member Yonatan Freund received a Rudi Roth scholarship.