Rain in Sweden helps Averbukh

Downpour forces pole vault organizers to cut short qualifying, pushing Averbukh into European Athletics Championships finals after two failures.

averbukh 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
averbukh 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Alex Averbukh enjoyed a piece of good fortune on Thursday when torrential rain helped him book his place in the pole vault final at the European Athletics Championships in Goteborg, Sweden. The Israeli cleared 5.45 meters in his first attempt, but followed that by failing twice at 5.60m. Averbukh never got the chance to take his third jump as the downpour forced the organizers to cut short the qualifying and award the top 20 jumpers at the time a spot in the final. The qualification height was originally set at 5.65m or the best 12 performers. Another failure by Averbukh at 5.60m would have likely left him out of Sunday's final, but thanks to the rain, the 31-yearold Israeli will get a chance to defend his European title from 2002. There was no such fortune for Irina Lenskiy, who finished 25th out of 36 runners in the 100-meter hurdles. The Israeli sprinter ran the distance in 13.47 seconds, .17 from a time that would have qualified her for the semis. Two Israelis will be in action on Friday as Itai Magidi is set to become the first Israeli ever to compete in a European running final. The 25-year-old will run in the final of the 3,000-meter steeplechase after clocking 8:25.04 in the qualifiers and breaking his Israeli record by three seconds. Also in action is Svetlana Gnezdilov, who will compete in the long jump qualifying. The first of Israel's five marathon runners will run on Saturday afternoon when Nili Avramski competes in the women's event.