West Hempstead teen takes home the gold


Akiva Ackerman of West Hempstead won the gold medal in table tennis in the boys age 13-14 division at the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games.

More than 1,200 athletes attended the games held in Rockland County from Aug. 12-17. Delegations came from all across the continent, and from Great Britain, Venezuela, Mexico and Israel. There were 35 visiting delegations.

Other sports included baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, volleyball, tennis and golf.

On Wednesday morning, all players took part in a JCC Cares community service project. Ackerman, 13, represented the Friedberg JCC of Oceanside.

The games are the largest sporting event for Jewish teens in North America. In the final, held at the Westchester Table Tennis Center in Pleasantville, N.Y., Ackerman defeated Sam Krisman of Great Britain by a score of 3 games to 1, in a match that had an Olympic feel to it, with both players wearing their country’s shirt. Both played at a very high level and the points were quite entertaining for the delegations watching. In a show of friendship and achdus, both exchanged shirts after the match. In doubles, Ackerman also won a gold medal over Team England 2-0 in games.

Overall he finished with a perfect match record of 15-0, losing only two games the entire week. As much as he loved winning the gold, the best part of the games were making new friends and meeting fellow Jewish athletes from all over the world. 

Next up for Ackerman is the U.S. Maccabiah trials to make the USA Team for the 19th Maccabiah games held in Israel in the summer of 2013. Ackerman will attend DRS high school in Woodmere this fall.