Celebrating our sporting stars

Steven Solomon (right) accepting the Maccabi NSW Sportsman of the Year award and Lou Rose Trophy from Maccabi World Union vice-president Tom Goldman on March 31. Photo: Shane Desiatnik

JEWISH athletes from NSW and Victoria evenly shared the spoils on the 2018 Maccabi Australia Sports Awards winners’ list unveiled last weekend, following each Maccabi state’s own awards nights.

Having recently relocated back to Sydney after six years in the US, 400m runner Steven Solomon found out he’d won Maccabi’s national Sportsman of the Year award for the first time since 2014, just moments after being guest speaker at the Maccabi NSW awards night on March 31, when he also accepted the equivalent state award.

A men’s 400m finalist at the 2012 Olympic Games and a five-time national champion, Solomon, 25, set a new Australian indoor 400m record while representing Duke University last year, he finished in the NCAA top 10, and came 7th in the 2018 Commonwealth Games men’s 400m final.

After congratulating all winners and nominees, Solomon offered some inspirational tips for all up-and-coming Jewish athletes.

“The greatest advice I probably ever received was from my high school sports teacher, who told me that nobody climbs a mountain to get halfway,” he said.

“Don’t try to decide on what your mountain is too early, but once you do, set your goals high . . . and be real with yourself about what you need to work on.

“The other key thing is to have belief, the courage to take a risk, and the mental resilience to keep going after a setback like injury.

“Athletes like Usain Bolt and Sally Pearson are great examples of doing that, and that’s why I admire them both so much.”

Jessica Fox celebrates another gold medal performance in the 2018 Canoe Slalom World Cup series. Photo: Paddle Australia/Balint Vekassy

Canoe slalom world champion Jessica Fox was named the Maccabi Australia Sportswoman of the Year for the sixth straight time.

Currently training in Spain ahead of the upcoming European World Cup series, the 24-year-old dual Olympic Games medallist became the world’s best canoe slalom athlete of all time, having won both the women’s K1 and C1 World Cup Series titles, and the women’s K1 and C1 gold medals at the 2018 World Championships, taking her world title tally to 13.

Jemima Montag crosses the finish line to win the Women’s 20km Race Walk final on day four of competition at the XXI Commonwealth Games at Currumbin Beachfront on the Gold Coast, Australia, Sunday, April 8, 2018. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) 

The prestigious President’s Award went to Jemima Montag, 21, who burst onto the women’s 20km international race walking scene last year and made an immediate impact, winning gold for Australia at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

SHANE DESIATNIK

Full list of award winners:

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Steven Solomon, NSW (Athletics)

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Jessica Fox, NSW (Canoe Slalom)

PRESIDENT’S AWARD

Jemima Montag, VIC (Athletics)

ALL ABILITIES SPORTSPERSON OF THE YEAR

Matthew Levy, NSW (Swimming)

JUNIOR SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Yonatan Freund, NSW (Karate)

JUNIOR SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva, VIC (Rhythmic Gymnastics)

MASTERS SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR

Joshua Goldstat, VIC (Triathlon)

MASTERS SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR

Leora Yates, VIC (Weightlifting)

Yonatan Freund receiving the Maccabi NSW Jewish Junior Sportsman of
the Year award and Leo Kellerman Trophy from Maccabi NSW president
Lauren Ehrlich. Photo: Shane Desiatnik