Federal President Fischer to inaugurate the Vienna Maccabi Games in July

The Jewish Maccabi Games are one the largest sports events in the world. In July of 2011, they will be held in Vienna for the first time. More than 2,000 participants from about 40 nations – among those 185 Austrian athletes – will compete for medals in 19 disciplines from July 5th through 13th, 2011. The event will be formally inaugurated by the Federal President of Austria, Heinz Fischer.

The European Maccabi Games will be held at the Hakoah Sports Centre near the Prater. Among the disciplines represented will be badminton and basketball, fencing, swimming, and chess, as well as bowling and tennis. About 3,500 visitors are expected to attend the event.

The Maccabi Games are the largest Jewish sports event – the first Games took place in Tel Aviv in 1932. Like the Olympic Games, the World Maccabi Games are held every four years in Israel and are among the five largest international sports events. The European Maccabi Games are also held every four years, but the European and the Israeli Maccabi Games alternate at two-year intervals. Vienna will be the venue of the 13th European Maccabi Games. The Austrian federal capital had to compete with Stockholm, Madrid, and St. Petersburg, which had also applied to host the Maccabi Games.