Friendship Games – Wednesday Highlights


Friendship Games – Wednesday Highlights
Jul 7, 2017

EIlat, Israel –  The women’s final game took an extra five minute overtime period for the Israeli Jewish squad to top Lithuania 63-60. Nofar Shalom and Dafna Mahler led the squad with 23 points each.

“They have the heart of a lion, they never gave up,” coach Amir Kahana said. “I wasn’t afraid for a minute that we weren’t going to take this game. I knew it would be close until the end.”

In the second final Lithuania beat the Israel Jewish men’s squad 91-63 to become Friendship Games Champions for the fifth straight year. “To be honest we expected to win,” Ignas Labutis said. “We just needed to play our game.”

While winning the 2017 titles was thrilling for both teams respectively, the brightest sign of the effectiveness of the Friendship Games could be heard in the audience during the contests. Fellow participants cheered on both teams out of love for the game and mutual respect for one another.

Following the championship games, participants of the Games took a quick bus ride to Eilat’s Dolphin Reef where a final ceremony was held.

And once the basketball was done, the true purpose of the games shined through.

“This is the power of sport,” games organizer Arie Rosenzweig said. “People from different nationalities, different religions. We have Christians, Muslims and Jews in Israel… Together!”


In the third and final podcast, we break down the men’s and women’s championship games, including the women’s Israeli Jewish team’s upset over four-time defending champion Lithuania. Then, we sit down with Mohamad Mawassi, a player for the men’s Israeli Arab team, who spent a year studying in Missouri and has a certain affinity for one American chain restaurant.

Feature of the Day:


                                                                            Photo courtesy of Nadav Cohen


By Monica McNutt

Eilat Israel –Here, in a region defined as much by border disputes as it is by its sanctity to Western religions, Marta Coelho can offer her life as an exercise in cultural coexistence.

Coelho, who played for the ASA Israeli team during the 12th annual Friendship Games in Eilat, Israel, stood out from the more than 150 others participants not only by her rich, brown skin, or eloquent English and Portuguese tongue, but also by calling five different countries (on three continents) home during her 18 years. Continue reading


The event’s organizers sponsored student coverage of the Friendship Games. Editorial control of the coverage and content remained with the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.


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