Maccabi Tel Aviv coach David Blatt and 1992 Barcelona Olympics silver medalist Yael Arad were on hand at Kfar Maccabiah on Tuesday sharing their past Maccabiah experiences as the preparations for this summer’s 19th Maccabiah Games continued to gather pace.

Blatt and Arad were speaking at a press conference attended by Guiora Esrubilsky, President of Maccabi World Union, Yair Hamburger, chairman of MWU, and Amir Peled, chairman of the Maccabiah.

“The athletes in the Maccabiah not only try to lift themselves to new heights but they also try to lift each other,” said Blatt, who won a gold medal with the USA basketball team at the 1981 Games.

“The Maccabiah isn’t just about competing or recording a result. It’s about cooperation.”

Arad echoed Blatt’s sentiment. “When I first competed in the Maccabiah in 1985 I didn’t do so well, but I can still remember how excited I was to take part,” said Arad.

“Eight years later I lit the flame at the opening ceremony and that is a moment I will never forget.”

The 19th Maccabiah will get underway in 127 days on July 18 with an opening ceremony at Teddy Stadium and will end on July 30.

Around 9,000 athletes from 72 different countries are expected to participate in the Games, far exceeding the record set four years ago.

Among them will be American swimmer, Garrett Weber- Gale, who won two gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, with Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Aly Raisman to be a guest of honor and New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire, who is expected to be the assistant coach of the Canadian basketball team.

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