Track and field / An evening of disappointment
On Day 2 of the Israeli Championships, no athlete secured a ticket to London.
As journalists gathered in the press room at Hadar Yosef last night, none could agree on a headline to sum up the disappointing first night of the Israeli Championships.
The writing was already on the wall at the beginning of the evening, with news that perennial triple jump champion Niva Ziv had sustained an injury during warm-ups. Then Donald Sanford pulled up midway through his 400-meter race through injury.
No outstanding times or upsets were registered throughout the night's competitions. Irena Lanski again won the 100-meter hurdles. Her daughter Olga became the national 100-meter champion despite finishing second to Russia's Yelena Kozlova.
Everyone's attention was centered on pole vaulter Jillian Schwartz, who has already promised her place on the plane to London. Schwartz, who only landed two days ago in Israel, managed to clear 4.34 meters and finished as national champion, but failed at 4.44 meters.
"I'm happy that I managed a good result in this stadium," the beaming U.S.-born athlete said. "I'm a little rusty, but I'm working on that." Schwartz praised the tips she received from former Israeli Olympic pole vaulter Alex Averbuch. "He pointed out a few aspects to be improved on," she said. "He's a real expert. I think I'll work with him more in the near future."
Yochai Halevi set a personal best in the triple jump, but because of a strong following wind the record will not stand.
"The wind let me down," said Halevi. "I didn't achieve the Olympic criterion, but I can take a few positives from this competition. I hope to improve in the near future. I want to get close to 17 meters, and don't feel that's too far away."
High jumper Dima Kroyter failed in his attempt to leap 2.28 meters, which would have allowed him to squeeze onto Israel's Olympic team, finishing second on 2.20 meters behind a Moldovan rival. "I admit it wasn't a convincing performance," he said. "I feel tired and hope I can rest in the next few days. I feel I've overextended myself in recent days, and if I want to peak at the right time I have to maintain my strength."
The competition continues on Thursday, with attention centered around Maayan Forman's attempt to reach the Olympic criterion of 1.95 meters in the high jump.