Knyazyeva-Minenko ready to impress in Rio


Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko is targeting Israel’s first Olympic track and field medal in Rio.

The 26-year-old immigrant is still haunted by her fourth place finish in London when she was representing Ukraine.

She recalled: “The triple jump is 90 per cent psychological and you’ve got to be mentally strong.

“I led early on in London and then lost concentration. I was inexperienced and I won’t make the same mistakes again.”

Knyazyeva-Minenko immigrated to Israel in 2013 after marrying her Jewish partner Anatoly Minenko, Israel’s decathlon champion. She has no regrets about the decision.

“People are more optimistic and warmer in Israel than in the Ukraine, and I already feel comfortable here and I love Israel, the culture. The hot weather suits me and helps me keep my weight down.”

Her quick acclimatisation was reflected at the World Athletics Championships last summer when she won the gold medal with her best ever leap of 14.78 metres, well beyond the
14.56m which earned her fourth place in London.

Earlier this year, Knyazyeva-Minenko’s Olympic participation looked in doubt when she injured the sole of her foot.

But the Israeli was back on song at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam in early July where she won the silver medal with an effort of 14.51m.

She said: “I’m well aware that I need to do even better to be on the podium in Rio but I wasn’t 100 per cent fit in Amsterdam, so there is plenty of room for improvement.”

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