Frenkel stumbles to last-place finish in high-jump finial

22-year-old fails to repeat record-setting qualifiers performance.

Danielle Frenkel (photo credit: IAA)
Danielle Frenkel
(photo credit: IAA)
Danielle Frenkel ended the women’s high-jump final in the 12th and last position on Sunday, failing to repeat her performance in the qualifiers from two days earlier.
The 22-year-old set a new Israeli record of 1.92 meters in her first attempt in Friday’s qualifiers, but looked nervous from the start of Sunday’s final and could only clear 1.85m before failing three times at 1.89m.
Despite Sunday’s disappointment, Frenkel will be pleased with her overall performance in Barcelona.
Frenkel only began to focus on athletics four years ago and has made a significant improvement since, the highlight of which was her qualification to the European final. The final was won by Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic, who jumped 2.03m. Vlasic was handed her gold medal by Israel’s two-time European champion Alex Averbukh.
Earlier Sunday, the 55-year-old Ayele Setegne amazingly proved he can still keep up with the continent’s best in the marathon.
Setegne came in at 23rd position in a time of 2 hours, 26 minutes and 26 seconds, one place behind Israel’s best finisher Wodage Zwadya, who completed the course in 2:24.39h.
Dastaho Svnech (2:28.36), Brihun Weve (2:31.47) and Zohar Zemiro (2:36.58) finished in 30th, 34th and 38th position, respectively, with some 19 racers not even completing the marathon in the hot and humid conditions.
The combined results of Israel’s three best finishers gave it sixth position overall out of 12 in the team competition.
Viktor Rothlin made up for European silver four years ago with a victory in the men’s marathon to give Switzerland its first gold.
“This was my 19th marathon and it felt like the first,” said Rothlin, who won in a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 31 seconds.
“My career might as well have been over after today, but the only thing I can say now is that I’m back!” Spain’s Jose Manuel Martinez – a former European champion in the 10,000 meters – won silver ahead of Russia’s Dmitriy Safronov.
“I like to run in the heat,” Rothlin said. “Compared to Osaka 2007 (worlds) this was cold.”
Stefano Baldini’s return to defend his title ended early when the Italian pulled up nearly halfway through. The 39-year-old 2004 Olympic champion hadn’t competed since a 12th-place finish at the Beijing Games.
Christophe Lemaitre became the first sprinter to win three golds at the European Championships after helping France win the 4x100 relay title on Sunday.
Lemaitre ran the second leg down the back straight before anchor Martial Mbandjock raced past Italy’s Maurizio Checcucci for France to clock 38.11 seconds.
Italy took silver in 38.17 and Germany claimed the bronze in 38.44 at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium.
“We panicked a little in the last few meters when we saw the Italians right on our tail,” said Lemaitre, who ran a quick leg but had a difficult handover.
“They were running very fast but Martial did an excellent job for us.”
Despite Lemaitre’s success, former Olympic champion Valery Borzov believes he is not ready to race against Usain Bolt or Tyson Gay.
“He’s young and he’s strong but I’m a little skeptical,” Borzov said before Sunday’s 4x100 race.
“He needs to get to 9.60 (seconds) and it’s not possible now, maybe only in a few years. I’m not sure he can compete with the Americans or Jamaicans.”
After the French women were beaten by Ukraine in the 4x100 relay, France matched Russia’s gold total when Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad led Bouabdellah Tahri in a 1-2 sweep of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:07.87.
Spain’s Jose Luis Blanco won bronze.
Christine Arron faded down the stretch as Yelizaveta Bryzhina surged past to give Ukraine the women’s 4x100 relay gold in 42.29 seconds. Poland took bronze.
Alemitu Bekele won the women’s 5,000 meters to deny Turkish teammate Elvan Abeylegesse a double distance gold.
The Ethiopian-born Bekele stayed with the leading pack as it broke away with over 2,500 meters to go before pouncing ahead of her three chasers along the back straight.
Abeylegesse, who won the 10,000, took silver in 14:54.44.
Sara Moreira of Portugal took the bronze in 14:54.71.
Christian Reif of Germany broke a 24-year record at the European Championships to win the men’s long jump on Sunday.
Reif jumped 8.47 meters at Barcelona’s Olympic stadium to eclipse the mark of 8.41 set by Robert Emmiyan of Germany in 1986.