Just over a year after representing Ukraine in the triple-jump at the Olympic Games in London, Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko yesterday finished in sixth place in the same event at the World Championships in Moscow – representing Israel.
This is the first time that Knyazyeva-Minenko has jumped in Israeli colors, after being granted permission in June to represent Israel. She is eligible for Israeli citizenship through her marriage to former Israeli decathlon champion Anatoliy Minenko.
She may not have come home with a medal, but the 24-year-old athlete – who is already being touted as a medal hopeful for the Rio Olympics in 2016 – put on a respectable performance for her new country.
Knyazyeva-Minenko, who qualified for the final with a jump on 14.46 meters, could not match that in yesterday's final. Her best distance of the evening was 14.33 meters, which was enough for sixth place overall. Her personal best, set last year, is 14.71 meters. Had she matched that yesterday, she would have taken the bronze medal.
Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won the event, ahead of Ekaterina Koneva of Russia. Ibarguen, the Olympic silver medalist, won with a world leading jump of 14.85 meters, holding off Koneva by 4 centimeters. Defending champion Olha Saladuha of Ukraine took the bronze with a leap of 14.65.
Earlier yesterday, Maayan Furman-Shahaf missed making the final of the women's high jump, after failing to clear 1.92 meters in the qualifying event.
Furman-Shahaf cleared her three previous heights – 1.78 meters, 1.82 meters and 1.88 meters – but failed to match her personal best and was eliminated from the competition.
The final Israeli participant in the World Championships, marathon runner Zohar Zemiro, will be in action tomorrow at 2:30 P.M. The Ethiopian-born athlete hopes to erase the memory of his nightmare performance at last summer's Olympic Games, when he failed to complete the course and was carted off in a wheelchair, suffering from exhaustion.
Ukrainian sensation Bogdan Bondarenko lived up to his top billing as he captured the high jump world title with 2.41 meters, the biggest winning height at a global championship.
Bondarenko needed just four jumps to win, equaling his personal best from earlier in the season on his second attempt after clearing 2.29m and 2.35m immediately. He then missed three times over a world record 2.46m.
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar got silver with 2.38m and Derek Drouin got bronze as at the 2012 Olympics, with a Canadian record 2.38m in a classy competition.
The mark of 2.41m is the biggest winning height at worlds or Olympics, as Bondarenko added one centimeter to the 2.40m Cuban Javier Sotomayor sailed for the 1993 world title.