Beijing marked 500 days until the 2008 Olympics yesterday, but Israel's hopes of booking at least two early berths for the games via the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne were dashed as hopefuls Ania Gostamelski and Shai Livnat failed to meet the qualifying criteria.
Gostamelski, who only a few weeks ago claimed a European bronze in the 100 meters backstroke, managed only 31st place in the same event yesterday after finishing in a time of 1:03.44 minutes. A time of 1.02.11 would have given Gostamelski a place in the semifinals and a ticket to Beijing.
Shai Livnat came in 33rd in the 200 meters freestyle in a time of 1:50.60. A time of 1:49.47 would have taken him to the semifinals.
Gostamelski will try to book her place in Beijing in the 200-meters backstroke later this week. Both she and Livnat will in any case have a second chance at the European Union Championships in France this summer or at next summer's European Championship.
There was a close miss for Guy Barnea who came in 19th in the 100 meter's men's backstroke in a time of 55.88 seconds, 25 hundredth of a second off a semifinal place.
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