Palli soars to high jump victory

20-year-old clears 2.25 meters to take Israeli national title at Hadar Yosef.

Niki Palli 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Niki Palli 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Niki Palli claimed his second straight Israeli High Jump title on Wednesday night, clearing 2.25 meters and thrilling the local fans at Hadar Yosef Stadium. The 20-year-old, who cleared the winning height in his third attempt, is making his final preparations for the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, which begin on August 25. Palli, who finished his first ever senior European Championships in an impressive sixth position last year, will be making his World Championship debut this summer and is aiming to cement his place among the world's elite. "I'm pleased with the result, but I'm not happy if I fail to match my personal best," said Palli, who owns a personal best of 2.30m. "I've got two more months until the World Championships in Osaka and plenty of time to improve. My aim was to clear 2.20m today and I managed that, so I'm happy." Palli began the competition by clearing 2.03m and 2.13m on his first attempts, but needed two tries to clear 2.20m and three to pass 2.25m. The Israeli then failed at 2.28m on three occasions, ending his competition. "My initial plan was to break my Israeli record of 2.30m this season and I still intend to do so," Palli said. "I've still got a few more things to improve in the next few weeks and the most important thing is to reach the final of the World Championship." Sivan Aballi spoke at every opportunity in recent weeks of her intention to end the domination of Sivan Jan in the women's discus and shot put events, but once again on Wednesday she failed to topple the reigning champion. Aballi led during the first half of the competition with a throw of 15.53m. But the 22-year-old Jan clinched her fifth straight shot put title with a throw of 16.03m. Ola Dor set the only Israeli record of the championships, clearing 4.03m in the women's pole vault to break the record for the third time in her career. "I felt like I could clear 4.10m, but I think I failed because I wanted it too much," Dor said. "I can jump much better, I think I'll be able to clear 4.20m in the near future." The longest and closest race of the day was the men's 5,000m. Brihon Waba finished in first position (14:44.18 minutes), beating out silver medalist Asrat Mamo by 42 hundredths of a second, with Zohar Zmiro finishing in third place a further 1.23 seconds behind Mamo. Irina Weingarten, who won the 1,500m race on Tuesday, won her second gold of the championships Wednesday, coming first in the women's 800m (2:16.02 minutes). Rita Pogarelov completed the prestigious 100m and 200m sprint double, easily winning the 200m in a time of 24.63 seconds. Michael Ayalin claimed his second gold of the championships on Wednesday, winning the men's 200m to go along with his 110m hurdle title from Tuesday. Rotam Batat was the only women to clear six meters in the women's long jump competition (6.03m), finishing first by 51 centimeters. In the men's 800m Yossef Gizacho (1:53.79) was beaten at the line by South African Reuben Majola (1:53.76), but nevertheless claimed his fifth consecutive title by finishing first among the Israelis. Yuri Peles won the 400m hurdles in a time of 52.82 seconds and Liat Anav won the women's contest in a minute and 1.89 seconds. Vadim Babikin retained his javelin title (67.83m), but only just, beating Alex Feingart by 68 centimeters. Naor Dorit claimed the women's title with a throw of 39.94m. Felix Gromdeski easily claimed the men's discus, throwing 49.19m in his sixth and final attempt. Eighteen-year-old Yinon Israeli won his first ever long jump title on Wednesday, equaling his personal best with a jump of 7.56m.