Local youth who were training to participate in the national Maccabi Games this summer will have to wait until 2021.

The event has been postponed due to the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Maccabi Games aims to bring the Jewish community together for a week of athletic and cultural events, according to Maccabi USA, the national organization that sponsors the competition. Youth ages 12 to 16 compete in a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, soccer, swimming, table tennis and volleyball.

Eight youth from the Columbus area, including Bexley, had signed up to compete in the Maccabi Games, which originally was scheduled to be held Aug. 2-7 in San Diego, said Jeanna Brownlee, sports and wellness director at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus.

"We were just on the heavy recruitment stage" to find athletes to represent central Ohio, she said. "I'll have to start over for next summer. But some of (the athletes) will still be interested."

The JCC hosted the Maccabi Games in 2016, and the local organization is waiting on confirmation from the national Maccabi USA organization on exact dates and locations for the 2021 Maccabi Games, Brownlee said.

Some of the athletes who participate in the Maccabi Games are selected to join the U.S. team and go on to the World Maccabiah Games, a larger international competition.

The 21st World Maccabiah Games has been postponed from summer 2021 to July 12-26, 2022, in Israel, the Maccabi World Union, an international Jewish and sports organization, announced April 7.

"While we were all looking forward to joining together in the summer of 2021 for the 21st games, we are committed to using this extra planning time to ensure that the experience in 2022 will be even more memorable," Louis Moyerman, World Maccabiah Games general chairman, said in a news release. "We look forward to our biggest and best USA delegation ever marching into Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium for the 21st Maccabiah opening ceremony on July 14, 2022."

For more information about the national Maccabi Games, go to maccabiusa.com. For more information about the World Maccabiah Games, go to maccabiah.com.

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