Donald Sanford came a mere nine hundredths of a second from winning an historic
medal for Israel in a sprint event at the European Athletics Championships in
Helsinki on Friday.
The 25-year-old Los Angeles native, who received
citizenship earlier this year after marrying an Israeli, finished the 400-meter
final in fourth place in a time of 45.91 seconds, right behind Yannick Fonsat of
Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic won in a time of 45.24s, with
Marcell Deak-Nagy of Hungary taking the silver (45.52s).
There was double
disappointment for Sanford on Friday as he not only missed out on a medal, but
also failed to clock a time of 45.30s which he required to book his place at the
Yochai Halevi finished the triple jump final in eighth
place on Saturday with a jump of 16.67m, 10 centimeters below his personal best,
and the exact same distance he recorded in the qualifiers.
32-year-old Jillian Schwartz, who will be Israel’s lone representative in the
track and field events at the London Olympics, will want to quickly forget about
Saturday’s pole vault final after clearing just 4.10m, well below her season
best of 4.52m, to finish in 11th out of 12 jumpers.
Blake delivered a shock that will be felt all the way to London by exploding
past world record holder Usain Bolt to claim a stunning 100 meters victory at
the Jamaican Olympic trials on Friday.
The showdown between triple
Olympic champion Bolt and world champion Blake lived up to its billing as the
highlight of the four-day meeting as ‘The Beast’ roared home in a dazzling 9.75
seconds, a personal best and fastest in the world this year.
also made Blake the fourth fastest man of all time behind Bolt (9.58), American
Tyson Gay (9.69) and Asafa Powell (9.72).
“No pressure at all...
everything is good. I’m just fortunate,” Blake said after eclipsing his personal
best of 9.82.
“I’m the national champion of Jamaica now, I go into the
Olympics like this.”
Bolt, who was unable to reel in his training
partner, settled for second in 9.86 followed by former world record holder
Powell in 9.88.
All three men qualified for the Jamaican Olympic team and
will line up against a formidable American contingent at the London Games
starting on July 27.
There will be no rest for Bolt and Blake, however,
who returned to the track on Saturday looking for a spot in the 200m.
are right where we want to be going into London,” Glen Mills, who coaches both
Blake and Bolt, told Reuters.
“We have four weeks until the Olympics and
we will take it in stride.
We know what to do, so we’ll get
“Bolt is a tough cookie and I think he will
Reuters contributed to this report