Palli impresses in Euro high jump

As far 19-year-old Niki Palli is concerned, the future is now.

Niki Palli 298.88 (photo credit: Joseph D. Robbins)
Niki Palli 298.88
(photo credit: Joseph D. Robbins)
Niki Palli has been earmarked as the future of Israeli athletics, however on Wednesday the 19-year-old showed that as far as he's concerned the future is now. The Israeli finished sixth in the final of the European Championships High Jump competition, clearing 2.27 meters in his first attempt. Palli failed three times at 2.30 and did not manage to equal his personal best. The 19-year-old, who has had to leave his home in Haifa in recent weeks to prepare for the Championships, will now go to China to take part in next week's Junior World Championships. The competition was won by Andrey Silnov of Russia from Tomas Janku of the Czech Republic and home favorite and Olympic Champion, Swede Stefan Holm to the delight of the crowd. Silnov jumped a Championship record, highest-in-theworld-this-year 2.36. Wednesday proved to be a complete success for Israel when Itai Magidi broke his own Israeli 3,000 meter steeplechase record by more then three seconds to qualify for the European Championships final. Magidi ran the distance in 8:25.04 and was the third fastest qualifier for the final. The 25-year-old will be the first Israeli runner ever to compete in a European final when he takes the track on Friday night. Israel's only real chance of a medal will take the field on Thursday when Alex Averbukh jumps in the pole vault qualifiers. Averbukh is the defending champion from 2002 and is expected to book his spot in Sunday's final with ease. The 31-year-old Averbukh is Israel's most successful athlete of all time after adding a European title four years ago to his gold in the 2000 European Indoor Championship and silver in the World Championships in 2001. Averbukh has jumped 5.80 this year and will hope his good form ahead of these championships will be enough to qualify for the final and give him a chance to defend his title. Also in action on Thursday is Irina Lenskiy who runs in the 100-meter-hurdles first round.