Maccabi GB is seeking community athletes in Manchester to take part in the 15th European Maccabi Games. JLife spoke to Joel Nathan, the general team manager ahead of a recruitment drive for the 2019 competition in Budapest.
Hi Joel! How did you become involved with Team Maccabi GB?
Sport has always been a major part of my life from an early age. I got picked to play football in 1995 for Maccabi GB at the European Maccabi Games in Amsterdam. It was not until 2007 when I was asked to coach the 2009 Maccabiah under-16 football squad that I got heavily involved and my passion grew from there. I have now built lifelong friendships due to my involvement.
How are your preparations going for the games in Budapest next summer?
I have appointed Andrew Myers and Daren Nathan as my assistant general team managers and we have started to appoint individual team managers too, along with the professional team at Maccabi GB. We hope to take a squad of 250 athletes, which will need a lot of planning but it is something we are used to.
What does your role as general team manager involve?
In theory it is really an overseeing role and dealing with issues as they arise, but one of my main aims is to meet and get to know every athlete before they step on the plane. That means going to see all the sports teams as they prepare and train for the games.
I am a football man, however I have had to learn about different sports for this role and I do enjoy watching all of them.
What has been your most memorable moment as a team manager so far?
There is nothing better than walking out with your squad. Walking out at an opening ceremony is for me the culmination of all the hard work that everyone has put into getting the squad to the games.
Are you still recruiting for 2019?
Absolutely, I want to try and increase our northern athlete quota and have done so previously from 10% in 2013 to 15% in 2017 and would love to get it to 20 to 25% for 2019 to 2021. So anyone living in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool – we want to hear from you!
I am sure there is some exceptional talent out there, so if you are interested in representing your country please get in touch.
What training tips would you give to aspiring young athletes?
Once selected, preparation is key – and that means not just physically but also nutritionally, as that is becoming more and more important. Obviously everyone is different and has different schedules but we give athletes as much help as we can, especially around nutrition, so they can prepare properly.
What makes representing Great Britain so special?
For a non-professional sports person, representing your country at the European Maccabi Games, or the Maccabiah Games in Israel, which is the third biggest sporting event in the world, is something special and something I will never forget. To represent the Jewish community of Great Britain on the international stage is something everyone should be extremely proud of.
The European Maccabi Games are taking place next summer. Are you confident of medal success?
I hope so, we have a great record and at the last games came home with 91 medals across all age groups which is a record and something I aim to beat in Budapest.
Good luck Joel and keep us informed!
For more information, visit Maccabigb.org/emg2019.