Tempered Euro expectations for Israel

No more Averbukh, but Frenkel, Halevi and 13 others hope to impress.

311_ frenkel high jump (photo credit: Israeli Athletics Association)
311_ frenkel high jump
(photo credit: Israeli Athletics Association)
After ending the last two European Athletics Championships with a gold medal, courtesy of Alex Averbukh, the expectations from Israel’s delegation to this year’s event in Barcelona are substantially lower.
Averbukh, who retired last summer, indulged Israeli athletics for over a decade, most notably at the Europeans where he claimed back-to-back gold medals in the pole-vault competition in 2002 and 2006.
Averbukh’s accomplishments are not likely to be equaled in the near future, but 15 Israelis will be competing in Barcelona over the next six days, starting on Tuesday, hoping to at least record personal bests and perhaps even reach the finals of their respected events.
No less than five runners will take part in the marathon in the last day of the event, while Yohai Halevi hopes to become the first Israeli to reach a final in Barcelona in the opening day.
Halevi enters Tuesday’s triple-jump qualifiers ranked 15th with his personal- best leap of 16.76 meters. He will need to clear 16.75m or finish among the top-12 in the qualifiers to advance to the final.
Halevi will also compete in the long jump qualifiers on Friday.
Also Tuesday, Dmitriy Glushchenko will race in the first round of the 100m. Glushchenko, who will also take part in the 200m, is aiming to progress past at least one round in the ultimate sprint.
The 22-year-old Moges Tesseme will run in the 10,000m final on Tuesday, and as he’s ranked only 22nd, he will first and foremost be looking to gain experience for the future.
Two of the more intriguing Israeli athletes who will be competing at the Europeans are Daniel Frenkel and Ma’ayan Foreman.
Frenkel broke Foreman’s Israeli record at the high-jump at the national championships earlier this month, clearing 1.91m. Foreman improved her personal best to 1.89m days later to also book her place in Barcelona.
Both jumpers will be aiming to clear 1.92m, which will guarantee them a place in the final.
Other Israeli athletes competing at the Europeans include: Dustin Emrani (800m), Yevgeniy Olkhovskiy (pole vault), Brian Mondschein (pole vault), Gezachw Yossef (5,000m), Irina Lenskiy (100m hurdles), who will carry the Israel flag and lead out the delegation at Tuesday’s opening ceremony, and the five marathon runners.
Incredibly, the 55-year-old Ayele Setegne will be in the marathon field once more and he will be joined by Dastaho Svnech, Brihun Weve, Zohar Zemiro and Wodage Zwadya.
However, the 41-year-old Asaf Bimro, Israel’s fastest marathon runner this year, had to pull out at the last moment after a checkup discovered he is suffering from heart problems.
Israel has an outside chance of a team medal in the marathon, to which the combined results of the country’s three best finishers apply.
Two more athletes who will miss out on the championships are high-jumpers Niki Palli, who isn’t fit, and Dima Kruyter, who has yet to fully recover from injury and is focusing on next month’s Youth Olympic Games.