Israeli star makes final of triple jump World Championships in Moscow

Knyazyeva-Minenko becomes the first Israeli since pole-vaulter Alex Averbukh in 2007 to reach a World Championships final.

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August 13, 2013 14:42
2 minute read.
Israeli triple-jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko

Israeli triple-jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko survived a mighty scare before qualifying for the World Championships triple-jump final in Moscow on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Israeli fouled her first two attempts in the qualifiers at Luzhniki Stadium, meaning her hopes rested entirely on her third and final jump.

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Knyazyeva-Minenko, who was representing Israel in a major competition for the first time since receiving citizenship last year following her marriage to former Israeli athlete Anatoly Minenko, played it safe in her final attempt, not even stepping on the board, but still cleared 14.46-meters to advance to Thursday’s final from third place overall.

“I’m so happy, I was really feeling the pressure,” said Knyazyeva-Minenko, who finished the Olympic final in London in fourth place last year, jumping 14.56- meters while representing Ukraine.

“I had to find a way to relax after fouling with my second attempt. I knew I was stressing myself and my team for no reason, but all’s well that ends well.”

Knyazyeva-Minenko, who lives in Israel and trains with local coach Alex Merman, finished behind Olha Saladuha (14.69m) and Caterine Ibarguen (14.52m) on Tuesday, but she has already turned her focus to the final.

“I gave my all in the third jump and I knew I had qualified as soon as I had landed,” said Knyazyeva-Minenko, who set a personal best of 14.71m last year, with her best jump of the season so far being 14.58m.

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“I now have two days to relax and prepare for the final because that was always my real goal.”

Knyazyeva-Minenko became the first Israeli since pole-vaulter Alex Averbukh in 2007 to reach a World Championships final and will be looking to emulate Averbukh once more on Thursday and become just the second Israeli to win a medal at the global championships.

Averbukh took a silver medal in the 2001 Worlds in Edmonton.

In other action on Tuesday, new world 10,000-meter champion Mo Farah brushed the sleep from his eyes and forced his tired legs around 15 laps of the track to qualify for the 5,000 final on a warm, sunny Tuesday morning at the Luzhniki.

Luckily Farah, favorite to retain his 5,000 crown and match his distance double from the 2012 Olympics, was not required to use the blistering finishing speed that won him 10,000 gold on Sunday.

In the 20-km walk, winner Elena Lashmanova almost made a costly mistake after slowing down in the stadium at the end of the race because she was unclear where the finish was.

“The judges didn’t really explain to us that we should do one lap before the home straight and finish, that’s why I stopped for a second at the stadium but I quickly understood I should keep going,” said the 21-year-old Russian, who added the world title to her Olympic gold.

Reuters contributed to this report.

On TV: Athletics World Championships (live on Eurosport from 7:30 a.m. and Channel 1 from 8:30 a.m.)

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