Frenkel sets new Israeli record at Euros

Twenty-two-year-old has high hopes for high jump final in Barcelona; Halevi out.

Frenkel 311 (photo credit: IAA)
Frenkel 311
(photo credit: IAA)
Danielle Frenkel will become the first Israeli woman to compete in a final at the European Athletics Championships on Sunday after setting a new national record in the high jump in a flawless morning of qualification in Barcelona on Friday.
The 22-year-old cleared 1.92 meters in her first attempt to improve the Israeli record she set last month by one centimeter and advance automatically to the final.
“I had a superb day,” Frenkel said. “I now need to recover from the qualifiers and make sure I’m ready for the final.”
Frenkel began the qualifiers at the entry height of 1.78m and after passing it with her first effort went on to clear 1.83m, 1.87m and 1.90m in her other first attempts before booking her place in the final with another perfect jump at 1.92m.
“I felt ready and strong,” Frenkel added. “It is all a result of hard work. I felt like I could clear any height. I’m optimistic about the final.”
Frenkel’s success is a testament to the progress she has made since turning her full focus to athletics four years ago. She improved her personal best time and again and took a significant step forward this year, winning her first Israeli championship and setting a new national record.
“Danielle was so ready for the championships that I had no doubt she would make the final,” said Frenkel’s coach Anatoliy Shafran. “She cleared 1.92m in training several times so that height didn’t scare her. She gave an excellent performance.”
Ma’ayan Foreman, who dominated the high-jump in Israel until Frenkel’s emergence, finished 26th and last in the qualifiers, jumping just 1.78, 11 centimeters shy of her personal best.
Irina Lenskiy finished the 100m hurdles in 23rd position on Friday after clocking a time of 13.41 seconds in the heats.
Yohai Halevi also ended his participation in Barcelona on Friday, leaping 7.90m, nine centimeters short of his Israeli record, in the high-jump qualifiers.
Halevi failed to advance to the final, finishing in 18th position.
Also Friday, Christophe Lemaitre overcame another poor start to win the men’s 200 meters and secure a sprint double.
Lemaitre again recovered from an atrocious start and wobbly run around the bend to surge past four runners and snatch victory by a hundredth of a second, clocking 20.37 seconds at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium on Friday.
“Coming out of the bend my legs were so heavy. But you have to push to the end to have a chance,” Lemaitre said. “I really pushed with everything I had to do it.”
The 20-year-old Frenchman had to power through the field over the last 60 meters in a similar finish to Wednesday’s win in the 100, when he stumbled out of the blocks but recovered to secure his first major triumph.
Myriam Soumaire denied Russia’s women another gold medal when the Frenchwoman won the 200 meters at the European Championships on Saturday.
Moments after teammate and 100m silver medalist Veronique Mang was disqualified for a false start, Soumaire surged to the front of the field from the outside lane to win the race in a European season’s best time of 22.32 seconds.
Earlier, Zivile Balciunaite of Lithuania won the women’s marathon while 50- year-old Merlene Ottey made history as the oldest athlete to compete at the event when she ran in the 4x100 women’s relay.
Balciunaite went around the streets of Barcelona in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 14 seconds to earn her first major triumph.
Nailya Yulamanova of Russia won silver in 2:32:15 and Anna Incerti of Italy took bronze in 2:32:48.
Ottey, a naturalized Slovenian of Jamaican origin, surpassed the age record held by 47-year-old French marathon runner Nicole Brakebusch- Leveque. But Slovenia failed to get out of the heats, led by Russia.
France advanced to the men’s 4x100 relay final on Sunday despite Christophe Lemaitre, who won the 100m and 200m dashes, sitting out qualifying. Martian Mbandjock, who won bronze in the 100m and 200m, anchored France. Germany was fastest in a time of 38.75.
AP contributed to this report