Israel's Sivan Jean starred in the opening day of the Maccabiah Track and Field event at Hadar Yosef Stadium in Tel Aviv yesterday, setting Games' records in the shot put and discus.
Jean threw 50 meters in the discus and then 15.62 meters in the shot put. Another Israeli athlete, Yohai Halevy, set a new Maccabiah record of 7.86 meters in the long jump after sprinting to the line at an impressive running speed of nearly 35 kilometer per hour.
Niki Pali continued to impress in the high jump. The 18-year-old cleared the bar at 2.25 meters to improve his Israeli record and come withing two centimeters of qualification for the World Championships.
The result was the third best junior result in the world this year, and expectations will be high when Pali participates in the European Youth Championship in Lithuania next week.
On the running track, Australia's Zac Ashkanasy failed in his bid for a third straight Maccabiah gold in the 1,500 meters. Ashkanasy finished in a time of 3:44.84 minutes behind Israeli record holder Itai Megid at 3:44.84.
"Megid ran the fastest time in 24 years in a Maccabiah - one second off the record - and with 80 meters to go, it could have been me," said Ashkanasy. "But my engine wasn't as big as his engine and I came second. I ran the fastest I've run in four years, so we both ran great races, but his race was just a bit better."
Despite his disappointment, Ashkanasy was forward looking, saying he hoped to strike gold in the 800 meters today. "As much as I was upset about coming second, I thought to myself, `I'm going to win tomorrow' [in the 800m]. Thankfully, I'm not competing against Itai then. "
Elsewhere on the track yesterday, American Todd Joki won a fast men's 110 meters hurdles race with a result of 14.15 seconds, while Israel's Tal Mor won the men's 100 meters with 10.54 seconds, equaling his best result this year. David Bernstein of South Africa won the junior men's 100 meters race with a very confident performance of 11.14 seconds, which was actually a weaker result than his preliminaries result of 11.09 seconds.
Israelis won all three medals in the men's hammer throw event. Isar Yazbin took the gold with 61.28 meters, followed by Shlomi Ben Shoshan with 58.68 meters and Viktor Zgneiko with 49.05 meters.
Israel also swept the women's triple jump, with Niva Ziv clearing 12.73 meters on her first attempt, Hagit Solomon taking the silver with 12.40 meters and Darya Pavlov clearing 12.07 meters.
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