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Local Athletes, Compete, Medal In Recent Maccabiah Games In Israel

Two local athletes have returned from the recent 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel with medals to show for their efforts.

Ari Monosson, named to the USA track and field team for the third time, was a first-time medalist with a gold in the 4 X 400m and a silver in the 4 x 100m. In the 1-17 age division, Sean Fatoorechi won a silver medal in karate.

Know as the “Jewish Olympics,” the games are held every four years attracting top Jewish athletes from around the world. More than 60 countries sent 88 teams to participate in 26 sports.

Monosson said the event is exciting for athletes who are there for six days training in the morning and touring in the afternoons.  Athletes visited the Dead Sea, Masada and Yad Vashem, the country’s official holocaust memorial.

“It teaches you about our people and heritage,” Monosson said. “It makes you proud to represent your culture, athletic ability and country.” He and Fatoorechi were among 900 on Team USA, the largest delegation.

To qualify for the games, athletes compete in meets around the country and submit times and personal bests to committees that select the teams. With one chairman for each sport, the Maccabiah USA track and field chairman is headquartered in Philadelphia.

While at Beverly High, Monosson played, soccer, football, basketball for a year and golf for one year. (His mother, aunts and sisters Elana and Danielle are also Nor-mans along with girlfriend Kimberley Maynard).

He never ran track at BHHS though he worked outside with a private trainer.

While soccer was his love, he always found a way to run. When he followed the family legacy including parents (and residents) Aviva and Ira to USC, he knew what events he’d be running—the 400m an the 4 x 4 relay—and made the team his first year

“Coach Rod  Allice was like a father figure to me,” Monosson said. “He gave me the opportunity to be on one of the top 10 teams in the country for four years and I blossomed,” That started his love of track and field that continued after his 2000 graduation.

Now at 31, Monosson considers himself an “old man” in the sport although it’s prime time for many runners. His oldest teammate was 38 and many were still in college.

While his business is operating a Subway franchise on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, Monosson still trains with the Montgomery Track Club under Coach Avondale Mainwar-ing. He works with people “whose job is running” like Olympic gold medalist Felix San-chez. “I train with people who push me every day. I’m lucky.”

And Monosson, who competes in trademark sunglasses, shows no signs of stopping. “I love running. I plan to keep at it ‘until the wheels far off,’ as they say.”

• Fatoorechi, now a 17-year old senior at BHHS, has enjoyed kumite (karate) since childhood. He enjoys the action and working out, he says. His instructor is Morteza Alborzi at USA Martial Arts Center Beverly Hills.

Sean is the son of residents Rozita and Sohail Fatoorechi. Sohail is a restaurateur who owns Il Forno Caldo in Beverly Hills, and Tivoli Cafe in Pacific Palisades.

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