The European Athletics Championships, kicking off on Wednesday in Helsinki, is the last major tournament before the Olympics. As far as Scandivian viewers are concerned, the peak will be the javelin throw finals between local hero Tero Pitkamaki; Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen, a two-time Olympic champion; and Czech Vitezslav Vesely, who can boast the year's best score (88.14 meters ).
France's Christophe Lemaitre is expected to defend his sprint titles, while Britain's Mo Farah will draw most of the attention at the 5,000-meter run. Merlene Ottey will attempt to put her name in the Guinness Book of Records, representing Slovenia in the 100-meter dash at the age of 52.
The Israeli delegation will include 10 athletes, of whom only pole vaulter Jillian Schwartz has already booked her flight to London. Schwartz will use the championships as a dress rehearsal for the Olympic Games.
Two athletes hope to clinch the remaining ticket reserved for young promising athletes: Dima Kroyter will compete on Wednesday in the high jump qualifying round, knowing that he must pass 2.28 meters in order to make the London games. His competitor is shot putter Anastasia Muchkaev, whose record this year - 17.22 meters - is better than the International B criterion. Still, Muchkaev will have to make the finals in order to receive the nod.
High jumper Maayan Forman will have to reach the finals and pass 1.95 meters in order to reach the Olympics, a difficult mission considering her inconsistent form this year. Yochai Halevi will compete in the long jump; Moogas Tasama will run 5,000 meters; and Itay Magidi, who suffered a setback in Beijing, will compete Wednesday in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Dmitri Barski will attempt to continue his good form in 100 and 200 meters. Donald Sanford will compete in 400 meters, and Dustin Emrani will run in the double distance.
Meanwhile, swimmer Tom Kremer has appealed to the Supreme Court of the Olympic Committee against the decision not to include him in the Olympic delegation. Archer Guy Metzkin and judoka Tom Arshansky might also appeal the decision to leave them out of the delegation.
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