Palli Leaps Into High Jump Final

Magidi's national mark followed by last-place finish in final.

Israel's Niki Palli set an indoor personal best of 2.27 meters with his third and final jump in the high jump yesterday, to qualify for today's final at the European Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England.

"This is only my first season competing in indoor events," said Palli after yesterday's qualifying round, "and only my third competition. I feel like I am slowly getting used to the difference and I'm very pleased with my results so far."

The final of the high jump begins at 5 P.M. (live coverage on Eurosport).

Itai Magidi qualified on Friday for the final of the men's 3000-meters event, setting a national record into the bargain. Magidi finished 11th overall in the two heats, in a time of 7:55.42 minutes, to book his place in yesterday's 12-man final. In the final, however, Magidi was unable to recreate his earlier performance, and finished in last place in a time of 8:15.82 minutes. In the men's 60-meter hurdles, Michael Illin set a personal best of 8.05 seconds, but finished in 24th place in a field of 26 and failed to make the final.

Thanou booed

Elsewhere at the championships, disgraced sprinter Katerina Thanou won through to the final of the 60 meters and will again face defending champion Kim Gevaert.

Making her first championship appearance since the 2004 Athens Olympics, Thanou was booed by some fans when she was introduced at the National Indoor Area but then won her 60 meters heat in 7.26 seconds.

She finished second in her semifinal to Gevaert and qualified for today's final, clocking 7.22 to the Belgian's 7.10. It was Gevaert who first voiced doping suspicions about Thanou in 2002 when the Greek beat her to the European 100 title.

Thanou, who won the Greek indoor title last month in 7.22, took the Euro title in 2000 - the same year she won silver in the 100 at the Sydney Olympics.

"The time was OK for an early morning start, Thanou said after her first-round race. I feel good and am looking forward to the rest of the competition."

At the Athens Olympics, Thanou and another Greek sprinter, Kostas Kenteris, failed to report for doping controls on the eve of the games, claiming they were in a motorcycle accident.

The pair were suspended for two years. Kenteris is yet to return to competitive racing.

Britain won two golds to top the medals table.

Phillips Idowu leaped a championship record to win the triple jump. Despite the pain of a badly bruised heel, Idowu improved his best indoor leap by 36 centimeters by reaching 17.56 meters in his first round.

Another Briton, Nathan Douglas, reached a career-best 17.47 to capture silver and Russia's Aleksandr Sergeyev was third with 17.15.

Nicola Sanders produced Britain's second triumph in the 400 with a Commonwealth mark of 50.02.

In the 400, Ireland's David Gillick ran a tough defense of his title in 45.52 - the fastest by a European this year.

Gillick edged past Bastian Swillims in the last 50 meters. Swillims finished in 45.62, while Britain's Robert Tobin took bronze in 46.15.

The 3000 went to Italy's Cosimo Caliandro 8:02.44, with Bouabdellah Tahri of France second.

Poland's Lidia Chojecka won the 1500 in 4:05.13 and will attack the 3,000 on Sunday, while Naide Gomes made it two successive long jump titles with a leap of 6.89.

Danny Ecker, Denys Yurchenko and Bjorn Otto all cleared 5.71 in the pole vault final, but Germany's Ecker won gold on the countback.

Belgium's Tia Hellebaut won the high jump with a championship record of 2.05 and had a failed attempt at improving the world mark of 2.08.