PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Known as the Jewish Olympics, the Maccabiah Games are the third-largest sporting event in the world.
Palm Beach County athletes and coaches are busy preparing for next year's event.
Athletes from around the country were at PGA National on Wednesday vying for their spot in the upcoming games.
For these athletes, keeping their eyes on the ball means a chance to compete at one of the largest sporting events in the world.
"The Maccabiah Games is a competition, the Jewish Olympic games. We have like 80 countries that go there and 10,000 athletes that come from all over the world," said Debbie Adams, vice-chair of Maccabi USA.
The games are held every four years and first began in Israel in 1932 when 390 athletes gathered from 18 countries.
"I've played in the games five times. The first time I was over there in 1989. I was meeting people from Turkey. I was meeting people from India and Australia. Just places that you would never think there were Jews," Adams said.
Now, nearly 10,000 Jewish athletes participate in the games, competing in 40 sports.
Eyal Hakim, a Delray Beach native, is the head coach of Team USA's women's rugby team, which will make their Maccabiah Games debut.
"Some of the players I've coached in the past are also Jewish, so it was really great to be able to come to them and be able to tell them, 'Hey, you know we are going to start this,' and we're going to build it up from the ground," Hakim said.
Applications for the 21st Maccabiah Games are still be accepted.
For more information, contact Senior Director of Programs Shane Carr at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215.561.6900.
The games will take place July 12-26, 2022, in Israel.