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Marathon runners Haile Satain and Assaf Bimro will compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics after the International Association of Athletics Federations decided yesterday to amend the entry criterion in the marathon from 2 hours 12 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Bimro ran 2:14:52 at the World Championship in Paris earlier this year, while Satain set an Israeli record of 2:14:21 at the Venice Marathon.

The IAAF also amended entry standards in other events, increasing the chances of other Israeli athletes of taking part in next summer's Olympics. In the women's marathon, the entry standard was set at 2 hours 37 minutes. Israel's leading women's marathon runner, Nili Abramski, who has in the past run faster than the new criterion, will have a chance to make the grade at the Tiberias Marathon in January.

Dennis Holev has a chance of gaining a place in the pole vault after the entry standard was reduced to 5.65 meters, and Vadim Babkin could find himself traveling to Athens after the minimum distance in the Javelin was set at 81.80 meters. Svetlena Gzendilov's chances of making the women's heptathlon were also improved after the IAAF amended the entry standard to 6,050 points.