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Israeli 4x400m relay team set a new NR
The Israeli 1600m quartet clocked 3:09.75 for a pending NR, as the first step towards an hopeful European championships participation


Sanford leeds the Israeli quartet (photo by Tali Shiatzu)

The Israeli athletics national stadium hosted the Tel aviv Open Relay Meet last week. The national 4x400m team comprised of Yuriy Shapsai, Ruben Majola, Dustin Emrani and Donald Sanford finished in 2nd place, clocking a 3:09.75, beating the existing NR by 0.59 seconds. A Polish selection (Lukasz Krawczuk, Rafal Smolen, Jakub Krzewina, Mateusz Formanski) won the race in 3:05.72, setting an All-comers Record (the best ever result achieved on Israeli soil).

The Israeli athletic association (IAA) launched a relays national project at the beginning of this year, with the target of qualifying to the European championships in the 4x400m for the first time, as well as cultivating the local young sprinters The project emerged when two top runners became Israeli citizens: American Donald Sanford (45.21) and South African Ruben Majola (46.37) married Israeli women and gave the Israeli 400m event a new perspective. The project includes the 4x100m relay team as well, although their chances of an Helsinki berth are slim for the moment. Both relay teams are scheduled to take part in the XII European Athletics Festival in Bydgoszcz on June 3rd.

Meni Peled, The project head coach said after the race: "The guys can run a second faster in the very near future. The competition against the Polish team wasn't as tight as we'd thought it would, so the race was really against the clock, which made things much harder". Peled added: "The result was good, but not great. We did the first step and it was an important one. I hope the training camp in Poland will help us make a significant improvement".

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