Maccabi Games set to begin tonight at Baltimore Arena

1,934 athletes from world eye four-day competition

Youth Sports

August 11, 2002|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore version of the Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games begins tonight at 7 with opening ceremonies at Baltimore Arena.

A total of 1,934 athletes, ages 13 to 16 from six countries and the United States, will participate in four days of competitions in 12 sports at nine venues around the Baltimore area starting tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Contingents of 17 athletes from Australia, 20 from Poland, 24 from Israel, 39 from Mexico and 46 from Venezuela will join with the Americans in basketball, baseball, bowling, golf, in-line hockey, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and table tennis.

Although the games stress that participation is for anyone who wants to compete, noted athletes such as Mark Spitz and Lenny Krayzelburg (swimming), Mitch Gaylord (gymnastics), Ernie Grunfeld and Danny Schayes (basketball), and Brad Gilbert and Dick Savitt (tennis) have participated since the first North American JCC Maccabi Games were held in 1982.

As a host community, Baltimore has 420 athletes competing. The next largest group of participants is 175 teens from Houston.

A parade of delegations will march into Baltimore Arena to the cheers of family and friends to begin the event tonight. Music, dance, drama and lights will set the tone for the days of competition ahead. A Maccabi flame will be lighted to signal that the competition can begin.

The Maccabi Games are not limited to sports competitions, but will include afternoon activities that teach about Jewish and Israeli culture, evening social activities including barbecues, Israeli night, amusement parks, zoos, host family night, parties and dances to encourage socializing among the athletes.

All athletes will also participate Wednesday in the Day of Caring/Day of Sharing program in which they do hands-on community service projects that might involve working with special needs children, serving meals at a homeless shelter or cleaning up an inner city park.

The purpose of the games is to contribute to the development of Jewish identification and the opportunity for bonding with other teen-agers worldwide.

Closing ceremonies will take place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Towson Center.

Competition venues

Baseball: Ridgley Middle School, Towson Center, Orchard Hills

Basketball (boys and girls): Towson Center, Park School

Bowling: Timonium AMF

Golf: Bonnie View Country Club, Woodholme Country Club

In-line hockey: Freestate Indoor Hockey Center

Softball: Orchard Hills, Towson Center

Soccer (boys): Towson Center, Burdick Hall at Towson University

Soccer (girls): Goucher College, Burdick Hall, Towson Center

Swimming: Burdick Hall

Table tennis: Student Union, Towson University

Tennis: Towson Center, Goucher College

At a glance

What: Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games

When:Today through Thursday

Where:Nine venues in Baltimore area

Opening ceremonies:Tonight, 7, Baltimore Arena

Closing ceremonies:Thursday, 6:30 p.m., Towson Center

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