Maccabiah: Excitement grows in the athlete's village

As the Maccabiah's opening ceremony looms ever closer, the excitement for the competition is most evident at the athlete's village in Kfar Maccabiah. The majority of teams have now arrived and are busy training and acclimatizing themselves to the Israeli weather. The atmosphere of the Kfar Maccabiah campus is one of multiculturalism. Participants hail from across the world, from countries including Mexico, South Africa, Britain, Russia and Venezuela. The Games are expected to be very competitive with all sports being performed at relatively high levels. "The athletes are taking it very seriously, everyone wants to win," said Yaron Michaeli, head of PR for the Maccabiah. Although standards are high across all fields Michaeli commented that, "The sports that will be performed at particularly advanced levels will be swimming, cycling and athletics." High levels of competitiveness have not prevented different teams from getting to know each other. Alex Jacubovski, one of the leaders of the Uruguayan delegation, said he has had a great time getting to know international athletes. "I've met a lot of people from all over the world, its enormous and we're having a great time," he said. The Maccabiah, also known as the 'Jewish Olympics' is the third largest sporting event in the world by participation. Only the Olympics and the Commonwealth games attract more athletes. Over 7,300 athletes will participate in the games this year, with 5,300 of them making the journey to Israel from abroad. They will compete alongside Israeli athletes, who number around 2,000. With events across the country over 1,000 staff have been employed to ensure the ten days of sport are successful. Israel is again tipped to win the most medals although it will face tough opponents. In particular the US delegation is considered very strong and will have already been in Israel for nearly two weeks preparing when the events begin.