Donald Sanford equaled his national record in the 400-meter event on Wednesday, clocking a time of 45.65 seconds at the Israel championships at Hadar Yosef Stadium in Tel Aviv.

The first day of the championships was fortunately siren free, allowing the athletes to focus on their performance on the track rather than running for cover should a rocket be fired from Gaza.

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Sanford proved he is in good form ahead of next month’s European Championships in Zurich where he will be hoping to emulate his performance in the event from two years ago when he finished in fourth place.

High-jumper Dima Kroyter was hoping to qualify for the European Championships on Wednesday, but he came up five centimeters short, clearing 2.21 meters to win the national title.

Kroyter still has several weeks to set the mark.

“I still have almost a month ahead of the championships and I believe I will be able to jump 2.26m,” said the former youth world champion. “I believe the injuries are behind me and I will finally realize my potential.”

Fresh off a nine-month injury lay-off, triple-jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko showed she is nearing top form once more after winning the national title with a jump of 14.23m.

Also Wednesday, Rita Pogarelov won the women’s 100m final in a time of 11.99 seconds in the absence of last year’s winner Olga Lenskiy, who is serving a drugs ban.

Imri Presiado claimed the men’s 100m gold in a new personal best time of 10.50s.

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