Four years after retiring, Alex Averbukh won his second Maccabiah gold medal on Wednesday evening, finishing first in the pole vault competition at Hadar Yosef with a jump of 5.15 meters.
The 38-year-old two-time European pole vault champion officially ended his illustrious career after the 18th Maccabiah in 2009, but decided to come out of retirement for one last event so that his little girl could see him compete.
Not only did she see her father jump on Wednesday, but she also saw him win, 12 years after he claimed his first gold medal at the Jewish Olympics.
Averbukh, who was crowned European Champion twice in a row in 2002 and 2006, and won silver and bronze medals at the World Championships in 2001 and 1999 respectively, beat his young protegee Lev Skorish, who could only clear 5.00m.
The 19-year-old Skorish won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine last week with a personal best jump of 5.10m.
“It was fun jumping against an athlete I coach,” said Averbukh.
“Now I’ll go back to nurturing him because he has potential.”
Donald Sanford broke the Israeli record in the men’s 400m final to win the gold medal on Wednesday, but ended the race with a bittersweet feeling after missing the criteria time for next month’s World Championships by five hundredths of a second.
Sanford clocked a time of 45.65 seconds, improving his own national record by six hundredths. He beat 20-yearold Australian Steven Solomon, who finished eighth in the London Olympics final, but could only manage a time of 46.24s on Wednesday, over a second slower than his personal best.
“I’m really happy with the way I ran, but it’s a shame I just missed the criteria,” Sanford said. “I have a few more chances to set it in the coming days and I believe I can do it.”