For British table tennis champion Dov Katz, 38, the last Maccabiah Games, in 2009, were pretty sweet — and not just for the competition.
“It was July 10th, a Friday, and we had spent the whole afternoon playing football in Netanya. In the killer sun, which is obviously the worst kind of preparation for our games,” he says, recounting the events of that day. “And then we were on our way back for Shabbat dinner….and I saw this absolutely gorgeous girl standing there waiting for a bus.”
The girl was lawyer Perry Dayan, 30, today Katz’s wife, mother of his newborn son James and, for the upcoming games – Britain’s table tennis Maccabiah squad coordinator.
“I went up to her and said, ‘I’m from Great Britain and I’m on the Maccabiah team,’ or something like that,” says Katz.
It was, perhaps, not the greatest pickup line.
But she gave him her number anyway. “I was impressed,” recalls Dayan. “Not by how he looked at that particular moment, which was pretty sweaty. Or by his being a sportsman. But he did travel here for the games, and loved Israel, and I liked that. And he was down to earth.”
The opening ceremony was three days later, and Katz called her up the day before to tell her to watch him on TV. “I was persistent and charming,” he says.
For more go to Haaretz
Hooking Up at the Maccabiah Games