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Bar-Or on track for 2012 Olympics

    Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or reached the semi-finals of the 200 metres freestyle at the World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, becoming the first Israeli to meet the criteria set for qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    Bar-Or was given special permission to participate in the competition, having recorded his qualifying time after the registration deadline for the World Championships.

    A season best 1:48:11 which placed him in 12th position was enough to take him through to the semi-finals.

    His delight contrasted with agony for Guy Barnea, who missed out on next year's Olympics by three hundredths of a second after clocking a time of 54.43 in the 100m backstroke heats, coming joint 16th overall.

    To compound the near miss, he was only one hundredth of a second away from making it to the semi-finals in Shanghai.

    On Sunday, Israel's top female swimmer Amit Ivry got off to a disappointing start as she came 24th in the women's 100 metre butterfly heats in a time of 59.56 seconds.

    The time was more than a second slower than her Israeli record of 58.21, which would have sent her into the semi-finals and next year's Olympics, but will now have to wait to book her place in London.

    Meanwhile, there was a controversial moment in the 100m breakstroke heats, where Gal Nevo came 45th in 1:02:32, as Iranian rival Mohammad Alirezaei refused to compete alongside the Israeli.

    By contrast, Syrian competitor Azad Al-Barazi had no qualms about taking on Nevo.

    Other Israelis in action include Jonathan Kopelev came 25th in the 100m backstroke with a time of 54.9, and Anna Volchkov, who came 34th in the same discipline for the women with a season best 1:03:12.

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