Guide to Israel's Olympic Team: Niki Palli

Niki Palli was tipped long ago as the future of Israeli athletics, but he very nearly missed out on qualification for the Beijing Games. The 21-year-old met the initial criteria in 2007, but was required to prove his form this year to book his flight to China. The jumper struggled with injury and in what was supposed to be his last chance to clear 2.27 meters at the Israeli Athletics Championships he only jumped 2.17m. The Olympic Committee of Israel did, however, give him another chance and Palli grabbed it with both hands and cleared 2.27m in a competition at Givat Ram in Jerusalem last Sunday. Palli, who finished his first ever European Championships in an impressive sixth position in 2006, has fond memories of Beijing after claiming the silver medal at the World Junior Championships in the Chinese capital two summers ago. Should Palli clear his personal best of 2.30m at the Olympics he will be guaranteed of a place in the final, but these Games will be just as much about the experience he will be gaining ahead of what is supposed to be the peak of his career, the London Olympics in 2012.