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Jemima, Piper follow in parents' footsteps

Posted: 03-Jul-2013 by Maccabiah

Jemima and Piper Montag, two of the outstanding young track and field athletes in our strong junior girls squad, will make their Maccabiah debuts 24 years after their parents, Ray and Amanda, met at the 1989 Games. 

Jemima, 15, has won two Aussie titles in the three-kilometre walk and is one of the best in the country in the event in her age group. Piper, 12, is a power athlete who excels at shot putt, and will also be part of Australia’s 4x100m relay team. They’re following in Amanda’s footsteps; she was an 18-year-old heptathlon competitor in 1989. In 1993, she won a silver medal in the 400m flat and claimed gold in the 400m hurdles.

It was at the 1989 Games that Amanda met Ray, who was competing as an Australian cricketer.

“At the end of the Games, we were on the same flight home,” Ray recalls. 

“We were sitting next to each other on the plane on the way home – that’s when we spent a lot of time together and chatted.

“We started dating not long after we came home and we got married five years later.” 

They are, indeed a Maccabi family even though the girls’ athletic prowess has seen them excel on a higher stage.

Ray has been involved with the Maccabi Cricket Club for over two decades, went to 10 Carnivals, was the cricket team manager at the 1997 Games and has been president of the AJAX Cricket Club in Melbourne. Amanda also returned to the Games in 1997, as a physio with the netball team, while pregnant with Jemima.

“It’s always been quite pertinent that we come from non-Jewish day schools. The Maccabi thing was the thread that got us together,” Ray explains.

“We have a very strong connection to our Jewish roots. I’m a child of two Holocaust survivors.

“That’s why we always encourage our children that they have involvement with Maccabi through sport; and it’s not just athletics, soccer as well. It’s a very important link.

“Both Jemima and Piper are very proud to compete for Maccabi and whenever they compete at Athletics Victoria meets.

“Whenever they can, they wear their Maccabi colours. They’re very proud of that.”

Jemima (pictured, right), who has been walking at a national level for a few seasons now, is aiming to compete for Australia in China in 2014 at the Race Walking World Cup. There are no walking events in Israel, but Jemima is a strong chance of medalling in the three kilometre run.

Piper (pictured below) is also an elite junior, and although her speciality is shot putt, she qualified comfortably for the Maccabiah’s sprinting qualifying time. The Montag’s youngest daughter Andie has kept up the strong female sporting prowess in the family and is a promising gymnast. 

And now, there's a lot to look forward to as the family ventures to Israel, and Europe, for the first time.

“There’s a lot of interest in Israel, because for them, there’s a lot of unknowns and questions because they don’t see it at school," Ray adds. 

“Whenever they hang out with a Jewish crowd they feel very well connected.

“We’re all very excited to see Israel and Europe.” 

By David Weiner, Team Australia media director

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