The first Maccabi Australia International Games has been a resounding success with the event likely to become a permanent fixture on the international Maccabi calendar. Amir Peled, executive member for Maccabi World Union recently returned from Sydney where he was very impressed with what he witnessed. "What is happening there is a strong and emotional event. This was a brand new event so no one was sure how is was going to work out but the verdict is high successful." The Games began on July 2 with an opening ceremony at the world famous Sydney Opera House. Since then the Games were on in earnest with 14 countries competing in 10 sports. Israel sent 52 athletes in basketball, tennis, lawn bowls and tenpin bowling which is more than what it sent for the 2000 Olympics. There was a break in competition for the community day which culminated with a dedication for the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Australian sporting legend, Shane Gould, who actually won three gold medals at the 1972 Olympics was present at the emotional ceremony which concluded with the first lighting of the Sydney Olympic cauldron since Cathy Freedman lit it just under six years ago. For chairman of the Organizing Committee, Tom York, the games have gone as well as possibly could be expected. "We began with a wonderful opening ceremony and since then the support from the community has been nothing short of fantastic. "Of course we could not have done any of this without the assistance of the NSW Government who kindly allowed us the use of the Sydney Olympic facilities." It has been this attention to detail and providing world class-everything to the athletes which has left them all resoundingly impressed. Once word of mouth spreads through the Maccabi world the 14 nations who attended this time around is expected to increase exponentially by the time the second games roll around in 2010.