After the Shabbat rest, today was finals day for the boys and girls under 19 and the semifinals for the Open categories.
It was a sad day for 12 yr old ELise Lazarus from Team GB who had played so well for the whole week. Not feeling well for the last few days she was forced to withdraw from the semifinal today with stomach problems giving her Israëli oponent Yarden Odinak a free pass to the final tomorrow. Considering her age (12 years!) there will be plenty more Maccabiahs for the extremely talented Elize!
The other semi final in the Women’s Open was end of the line for Jacky Goldride. The Israëli veteran had asked too much of her tiring body in the team event and the early rounds of the singles. There was a comfortable win for Jenny Scherl from the USA in straight games.
In the Men’s Open the first semifinal was fiercely contested between Israeli no 1 Ido Avron and new star Daniel Poleschuk who just got back from the World Juniors in Poland. Poleshchuk was not impressed by the status of his nr 1 seeded opponent and got to a very convincing 2-0 lead over his compatriot. The experienced Avron was not planning to give in easily and started a comeback in the third game, well supported by his home crowd. Avron took the third in extra points but now there was nothing left in the tank was and Poleshchuk closed the match in convincing fashion.
The other semifinal was the first that went according the seedings, Canadian Albert Shoihet was just too strong and patient for another young Israeli star Liad Hare, winning 11/5,11/7,11/9.
In the Girl’s under 19 final Emily Sherwood controlled her nerves in the first 2 games better to take a 2-0 lead. But when she reached 10-6 in the 3rd suddenly she realized she was only one shot away from a Maccabiah Gold Medal and the rhythm broke giving the no 1 seed, Ginger Sands, an opening to get back in the match. Sands took the third and had the better start in the fourth but as soon Emily was 9-5 behind in the fourth, she lost all her nerves and raced to a 11-9 win and gold medal.
The best was left for last with the Boys under 19 final between no 1 seed Avichai Bar Moha and Roee Avraham, the no 3 seed. In this Israëli clash both players played at a very high and intense level exchanging games to a 2 all score. In the fifth Avichai had the better start and for a few rallies it looked like Roee was surrendering but in, as some reporters on SquashTV say, “business part”of the fith Roee showed great recovery skills and even bigger determination.
Avichai reached matchball first on a controversial No Let decision but with both players now diving and throwing themselves all over the court in long and brutal rallies Roee recovered a sure win shot from Avichai in a full split, made it back on time to the opposite corner to pick up Avichai’s drop and then decided that enough was enough and put the ball in the nick, leaving a desperate Avichai on the floor.
The next rally saw a mentally not yet recovered Avichai putting the service in the tin thus presenting his compatriot with the Maccabiah Gold Medal. The appreciative crowd had a standing ovation for both players.