Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko wins a silver medal in the women’s triple jump at World Championships in Beijing, August 24, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko showed on Sunday why she is regarded as one of Israel’s best medal hopes at the Rio Olympics when she became just the second Israeli to scale the podium at the European Athletics Championships, claiming a silver in the women’s triple jump final in Amsterdam.
Knyazyeva-Minenko fouled in five of her six attempts, but registered one superb jump of 14.51 meters, her best result of the season.
Knyazyeva-Minenko, who began representing Israel in 2013 after leaving Ukraine following her marriage to Anatoly Minenko, joined Alex Averbukh as the only Israelis to take a medal at the European Athletics Championships.
Averbukh won two consecutive gold medals in the pole vault in 2002 and 2006. Last year, Knyazyeva-Minenko joined Averbukh as the only Israelis to finish on the podium at the world championships, winning a silver in Beijing with a career-best jump of 14.78m.
“I’m really happy and this gives me a lot of confidence,” said Knyazyeva-Minenko, who will receive a NIS 28,000 bonus from the Olympic Committee of Israel and the Ministry of Culture and Sport.
“I really wanted to hear the Hatikva national anthem, but maybe there is an advantage to finishing in second place as that means I won’t be able to relax ahead of Rio.”
Knyazyeva-Minenko very nearly claimed a gold medal on Sunday just like Averbukh 10 and 14 years ago, leading ahead of the final round of jumps thanks to her third attempt. However, Patricia Mamona of Portugal recorded a national record of 14.58m with her sixth and last attempt to deny the Israeli.
Knyazyeva-Minenko had fouled in her first two attempts and knew that she would have to climb into the top eight with her third jump in order to receive three more tries. She didn’t wilt under the pressure and registered an excellent jump, which will also give her plenty of confidence ahead of Rio, especially after undergoing surgery on her foot in March.
“This achievement hasn’t really sunk in yet,” she added. “I was in a bad state one month ago. I had a really tough time coming back from injury and was really suffering.”
Earlier in the final day of the championships, Israel was also represented in the men’s and women’s half-marathon.
Yimer Getahun was Israel’s best finisher in the men’s competition, clocking a time of 1:07.02 hours, which was good enough for 43rd position.
Korlima Chemtai, who is preparing for the marathon at the Rio Olympics, ended the women’s event in 40th place in 1:15.22 hours.