European Jewish Youth Games in London to include disability access

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European Jewish Youth Games in London to include disability access

Inaugural European Jewish Youth Games at the end of July will offer Access Games component

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

European Maccabi Games
European Maccabi Games

Maccabi GB is hosting this summer’s inaugural European Maccabi Youth Games at the end of July — and the Games, which will attract hundreds of young people from across the world, will also incorporate a unique component — a sporting programme for youth with special educational needs.

The Games, known as EMYG24, will take place from July 30 to August 6 in Hertfordshire. During the week there will be up to 23 different sports events for two categories — Youth (under 18) and Junior (under 16).

The athletes will enjoy a week of sporting competition, London sightseeing, learning about British Jewish history, culture and tradition and having a true Maccabi Jewish experience.

But, in addition, there will be a programme for young people aged 14-18 who have “mild to moderate” special educational needs, and Maccabi GB is seeking interested participants now, and asking them to register. Maccabi says that these participants — who will be accepted on a first come first served basis — can choose whether they want to take part in a sports contest or serve as volunteers at the Games, or both.

The sports on offer will include football, basketball, golf, bowling, cycling, athletics, table tennis and cycling.

Ashley Lerner, Maccabi GB’s chief executive, said: “Maccabi GB have a long history of working with young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). With our community partners, we have taken our “Challenge Tour” to Israel for 30 years and we regularly engage with members of Kisharon Langdon , Norwood and Gesher School, among others, via our sports and education projects.

“We are acutely aware that the SEND community has little access to mainstream sport and as such want to ensure that the European Maccabi Youth Games and sport in general become accessible for the whole community. This is why we are really excited to be piloting the Access Games this summer,  working with a great steering committee who are experts in the SEND field, who are guiding and advising us on this important project.

He added: “While this is a first for the European or Maccabiah Games, our partners in North America at the JCC Maccabi Games, are the originators of the Access Games and with great success have been piloting their own programme for SEND young people for the last two summers. Our hope is that all International Maccabi Games in the future can include SEND athletes and the Access Games can continue to grow and develop.”

To secure and confirm a spot for the Access Games, only a nominal fee £20 is necessary, which will be fully refunded once the Games are completed. Teenagers — or their parents, on their behalf — should visit, or email for further details and a registration form.

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