Knyazyeva-Minenko misses medal in Moscow

Israeli ends triple jump final in sixth position; Gordon, Hejnova take superb 400m hurdles golds.

women's 1500 meter final 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
women's 1500 meter final 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israeli athletics will have to wait at least two more years for its first World Championships medal since 2001 after Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko ended the women’s triple jump final in Moscow in sixth place on Thursday night.
The 23-year-old, who was representing Israel in a major competition for the first time after receiving citizenship last year following her marriage to former Israeli athlete Anatoly Minenko, cleared just 14.33-meters with her best jump in the final, well short of her personal best (14.71m) and season best (14.58m).
Knyazyeva-Minenko, who finished the Olympic final in London in fourth place last year, jumping 14.56m while still representing Ukraine, didn’t even manage to equal her result from the qualifiers in Moscow (14.46m), which saw her advance to the final from third place overall.
Nevertheless, she seems set to lead local athletics for many years to come after becoming the first Israeli since polevaulter Alex Averbukh in 2007 to reach a World Championships final. Averbukh was the first and last Israeli to claim a medal at the global championships when he won a silver in the 2001 Worlds in Edmonton.
“I’ve had a tough year. It takes time to get used to a new coach and a new country,” said Knyazyeva-Minenko. “I was nervous before the final and couldn’t record the results I had hoped to. But I’m still young and I’ve got many more years to represent the country and bring it honor.”
Caterine Ibargueen of Colombia won the gold on Thursday with a leap of 14.85m, with Russian Yekaterina Koneva taking the silver (14.81m) and Olha Saladuha claiming the bronze (14.65m).
Israeli Ma’ayan Furman-Shahaf ended the women’s high jump qualifiers in 16th place on Thursday after clearing 1.88m with her second attempt. Furman-Shahaf failed to equal her personal best of 1.92m and missed out on a place in the final.
“On the one hand I’m really happy because I jumped well, but I’m also disappointed because I felt I could have made the final,” said Furman-Shahaf.
“These championships proved to me that I am capable of competing at the highest level and this experience gives me even more motivation to do well.”
Zohar Zemiro will be the third and final Israeli to compete in the championships when he runs in the marathon on Saturday.
In other athletics finals, Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon pipped American Michel Tinsley by 100th of a second to take a thrilling 400 meters hurdles gold while Zuzana Hejnova won the women’s version in a Czech national record.
Ezekiel Kemboi maintained his and Kenya’s stranglehold on the 3,000m steeplechase with his third successive world title while Abeba Arewgawi, the Ethiopian- turned Swede unbeaten all season, won a brilliant women’s 1,500m.
Bohdan Bondarenko won a gripping men’s high jump final while Caterin Ibarguen took Colombia’s first-ever world gold in the women’s triple jump.
The race of the night came in the men’s one-lap hurdles as Olympic silver medallist Tinsley took it out early and was leading by two meters coming into the home straight.
Olympic champion Felix Sanchez, in a remarkable seventh successive world championship final 12 years after winning the title in Edmonton, could not live with the pace this time but 21-yearold Gordon maintained his form superbly to close the gap.
In a dramatic surge for the line both men dipped and crashed to the track but Gordon had timed his charge perfectly as he was timed at 47.69 to the personal best 47.70 of Tinsley to take his country’s first gold since Ato Boldon’s 200m win in 1997.
“I Kept patient, I kept calm and I executed the best race of my life today,” said Gordon.
Allyson Felix was on hand to deliver another typically silky display in her heat as she eyes an unprecedented ninth world gold in all events in Friday’s final.
Usain Bolt is also back on the track on Friday in the first round and semi-finals of the 200 meters.
Reuters contributed to this report.