For the first time ever, 2,000 athletes from 50 countries and fans from all over the world will convene in Israel for lacrosse’s flagship international competition.
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Israel was officially announced on Tuesday as the host nation for the 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships. In a special press conference, Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg-Ikar and Scott Neiss, the executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association, announced that Netanya will host the sport’s pinnacle competition, which will include 50 participating countries July 12-21, 2018.
Israel’s opportunity to host the World Lacrosse Championship comes in light of the country’s recent success in the international arena, in which Israel won second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent World Championship in 2014.
Israel has become the fastest growing nation in the sport, with eight competing cities and hundreds of players up and down the country, which placed Israel as one of the leading candidates for the World Championship in 2018. Israeli teams have competed in every Federation of International Lacrosse and European Lacrosse Federation event since their debut in 2012.
After Manchester, England withdrew from hosting the World Championship, Israel stepped in and submitted its first-ever bid to host the games. This is the very first time since the competition’s inception in 1967 that any country apart from United States, Canada, England or Australia has hosted the championship.
The 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championships is also set to be the largest event of its kind to ever take place, with a proposed 50 countries trumping the 2014 total of 38 in Denver, Colorado.
Netanya was chosen to host the event due to the city’s achievements in sport and its success in hosting a variety of international competitions, including the European Swimming Championships, World Surfing Championships, international tennis tournaments and European Football Championships (under 21).
“The success of Israel Lacrosse both internationally, that sees us ranked seventh in the world and the domestic infrastructure we’ve established at grassroots level here in Israel, put us in good standing when submitting our bid to host the FIL World Championships,” Neiss said.