Danielle Frenkel finishes just off podium

March 7, 2011 04:46

Israeli finishes 4th in European Indoor Athletics Championships; 23-year-old says accomplishment gives her motivation to achieve more.

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DANIELLE FRENKEL 311. (photo credit: IAA)

Danielle Frenkel just missed out on becoming the second Israeli to claim a medal at the European indoor athletics championships on Sunday, finishing the women’s high jump final in fourth position.

The 23-year-old, who set a new Israeli record of 1.94 meters in Saturday’s qualifiers, cleared her jumps at 1.82m, 1.87m and 1.92m with her first attempts in Sunday’s final, but failed three times at 1.96m, the height cleared by the eventual silver and bronze medalists.

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“I worked hard to reach this moment,” said Frenkel, who also made the final at last year’s European Athletics Championships in Barcelona.

“This accomplishment gives me a lot of motivation to achieve much more and now it is time to return to training.”

Alex Averbukh won Israel’s only ever medal at the European indoors, taking the gold in the pole vault final in 2000.

“I’m very pleased with Danielle’s achievement and performance,” Frenkel’s coach Anatoliy Shafran said.

“Her excellent jumps at 1.96m proved to me that she is capable of much more.”

With Blanka Vlasic and Ariane Friedrich among a host of absentees for the championships, favorite Antonietta Di Martino finally took gold for Italy after years of silvers in big events, clearing 2.01m, with Ruth Beitia and Ebba Jungmark taking silver and bronze, respectively, with jumps of 1.96m.

Portugal’s Francis Obikwelu upset defending champion Dwain Chambers and home favorite Christophe Lemaitre to seize the 60 meters title at the Bercy complex Lemaitre suffered from one of his notoriously bad starts and Obikwelu, the 2004 Olympic 100 silver medalist, sailed to victory in a national record of 6.53 seconds.

“I’ve had injuries for such a long time, and to come back and win, it’s incredible,” Nigerian-born Obikwelu, 32, told reporters.

“I’m honored to be here, this is a great day of joy. I was hoping to be in the top three, but I never thought I was going to win.”

Reuters contributed to this report

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