Yarden Odinak and Daniel Poleshchuck take the Maccabi Games squash titles in Tel Aviv …
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Yarden Odinak 3-1  Jenny Scherl 11/7, 11/5, 7/11, 11/7
A very nervous start from the nr 1 seeded Jenny Scherl who made a lot of unforced errors.
Yarden Odinak settled in after discovering that Jenny was struggling to get to her boast shots. Taking the first gave Yarden such a boost she waltzed through the second in a rush, leaving her opponent with more problems to take care off.
The third was a seesaw game with Yarden up 7-5, and then the nerves struck to her as Jenny closed out the game in one hand. Same story in the fourth, close all the way to 6-all but when Yarden reached 7-6 she didn’t look back and raced to her well deserved first Maccabiah gold medal.
Men’s Open Final:
The Men’s Open was a totally different match with no 2 seed Canadian Albert Shoihet facing Israëli star Daniel Poleshchuk. It was very intense throughout the whole match, some remarkable pickups by the lightning fast Poleshchuk and Albert simply switched off in some patches.
The first game was over before Albert had even realized it had started, he was just not there. The second game saw a more combative match developing with some very tight squash from Albert now. No more than two points separated the players in the entire game but an unforced error from Albert gave Daniel a gameball at 10-9. The next rally saw both players waiting very patiently for a mistake. Daniel’s chance came when Albert failed to give his crosscourt lob enough altitude giving Daniel an opportunity for an overhead smash as he loves to play.
A fierce claim by Albert that the ball had been down was not rewarded by the referee giving Daniel a comfortable 2-0 lead.
In the third game a now very focused Albert got him self on top of his game and maybe Daniel got carried away a little bit too much because he went recklessly for his shots that went down too many times. 11-8 to Albert and everyone was expecting that the real battle now only just was about to begin.
But immediately at the beginning of the fourth the momentum switched when Albert got a few unlucky tins – more or less forced by Daniel who produced some stunning recoveries. When Albert decided that he needed more than one opponent and got too involved with the referee it was clear that the end was near. A no let to Albert on matchball got Daniel to a 11-7 win and a first golden Maccabiah medal.
Immediately after the final everybody was evacuated with buses to Ra’anana’s very luxurious leisure facility with in and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants, etc. After a very nice meal, the prizegiving ceremony started with the singing of the Israëli national anthem. The (inevitably and obviously very long) speeches were followed with presenting the medals in all the different age groups.
We did manage to get most of the heroic medal winners on the photo but more than once the photographers were run over with anyone holding a cellphone camera. But that is all part of the fun!