Cuban Yarisley Silva Sixth in 5th Stop of Diamond League

Cuban female pole vaulter Yarelis Silva (World Champion in 2015 in Beijing and Olympic runner-up in London in 2012) ended in the 6th place in the competition in the Norwegian capital Thursday, in the 5th stop of the 2018 Diamond League.

Silva just could go over the height of 4.26 meters in her first appearance in the 2018 Diamond League, far away from the winner, US Sandra Morris, who ended with 4.81.

A silver medalist in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Morris won the competition, and added a total of 8 points, to complete 22, a number of points consolidating her as the leader in this event in the 2018 Diamond League.

Russian Anzhelika Zidorova, with 4.71 meters, and Swedish Angelica Bengtsson (4.61), completed the podium with their silver and bronze metals, respectively, for which they added seven and six units, in that order.

In the case of the Cuban athlete, she accumulated her first three points in the general table of the modality, because she had not been present in any of the two contests previously convened.

Before competing in Oslo, Silva, world indoor monarch in Sopot, Poland, in 2014, won last May the gold medal at the International Urban Pole Vault meeting, in Mexico City, where she reached the height of 4.70 meters.

Colombian Caterine Ibargüen, Olympic Champion of Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and universal holder in Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015, won the triple jump, with a record of 14.89 meters, to stay ahead in the general classification, ahead of Tori Franklin (US, 14.57) and Jamaican Kimberly Williams (14.50).

Ibargüen came from winning without difficulties in Shanghai (China), with a jump of 14.80 meters, which gives confidence to face a new season in the Diamond League, in which she could not be in first place last year.

The Diamond League will count this year on 12 qualifying rallies for the final, which will have two chapters in the cities of Zurich and Brussels on August 30 and 31.
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WORLD LEADS FOR THIAM AND WARNER IN GOTZIS

Nafissatou Thiam claimed her second title in the heptathlon and Damian Warner his fourth in the decathlon at the Hypo Meeting IAAF Combined Events Challenge fixture in Gotzis, Austria, on Sunday (27).

Thiam tallied a world-leading 6806 to successfully defend her title at Moesle Stadium while Warner collected 8795, also a world-leading performance, to break his own Canadian record.

Thiam began strong on day two with a 6.62m leap in the long jump, improving her personal best by six centimetres and missing the Belgian record by a scant one centimetre. That upped her total to 5158 for a 126-point lead over Erica Bougard of the US, who also improved her personal best to 6.62m to remain in second with 5032 ahead of Cuba’s Yorgelis Rodriguez, who reached 6.56m for 4983. World bronze medallist Anouk Vetter leaped 6.25m to up her score to 4763.

That put Thiam’s tally 75 points ahead of last year’s, well on course to challenge Carolina Kluft’s European record. But those ambitions were halted in the javelin where, hampered by the winds, she could only manage a best of 47.20m, more than 12 metres short of her 59.32m effort in 2017. That put her at 5964 points and effectively out of the record chase.

Rodriguez threw a season’s best with 48.65m to overtake Bougard for second with 5817 to the American’s 5737. Alina Shukh, the European U20 champion, won the event with 52.46m ahead of Vetter’s 51.27m.

Thiam concluded a successful weekend with a 2:18.62 run in the 800m for a 6806 performance, the third best of her career. Her two days in Gotzis was highlighted by a world heptathlon best of 2.01m.

Rodriguez ran 2:12.73 to take the runner-up spot with 6742, a Cuban record. Bougard won the two-lap event in 2:08.42 to smash her heptathlon career best with 6725. Dutchwoman Vetter was fourth with 6428 ahead of Austria’s Verena Preiner (6308 PB) and another Belgian, Hanne Maudens who scored 6252.

“It was a great weekend. I set a lot of PBs and I did not expect to score many of them,” Thiam said.

“In the javelin there was a lot of wind and I changed my run-up, but I am not sad at all about missing the chance to break the European record. This competition was a step on the way towards the European Championships. I am looking forward to Berlin. This weekend I wanted to assess where I am at this point of the season.”

WARNER THREATENS 8800

Warner, the overnight leader, picked up where he left off by winning the 110m hurdles in 13.56, a season’s best, to increase his lead to 329 points over German Kai Kazmirek, whose 14.42 was also a season’s best. German Rico Freimuth clocked 13.96 to move up from 11th to sixth. His compatriot Matthias Brugger improved his ranking from fifth to third after clocking 14.24.

Warner produced another season’s best with 47.32m in the discus to increase his lead to 402 points. Kazmirek, the world bronze medallist, threw 43.76m to remain in second, just four points over Freimuth who finished second in this event with 48.58m over Grenada’s Lindon Victor who threw 48.82m. Sadly Freimuth pulled out of the competition before the start of the pole vault.

Damian Warner on the way to another Canadian decathlon record in Gotzis (Jean Pierre Durand)Damian Warner on the way to another Canadian decathlon record in Gotzis (Jean Pierre Durand) © Copyright

That event was led by Maicel Uibo of Estonia and Zach Ziemek of the US, who both topped 5.30m. That moved Uibo from fifth into second, while Warner topped 4.80m. Brugger moved up to third thanks to a 5.20m clearance. Ziemek followed in fourth place.

Warner improved his total to 8028 after the penultimate event, reaching 61.94m in the javelin, 275 points up on Uibo who threw 61.75m. European U20 champion Nicklas Kaul was the best of the day, reaching 68.78m to climb into eighth place overall with 7470.

Warner crowned his successful weekend with a 4:26.59 run in the 1500m, finishing behind Brugger (4:23:93) and Dutchman Pieter Braun (4:24.29), to become the fourth four-time Gotzis winner after Carolina Kluft, Roman Sebrle and Sabine Braun.

“It means a lot to win this meeting for the fourth time,” said a delighted Warner. “I was solid across the board, especially in the long jump, the discus and in the hurdles. We were very lucky with the weather. I will now go back home to assess the rest of the season.”

The Canadian star beat Uibo, who set a career best with 8514, and Braun, who improved his personal best to 8343. Uibo received strong support from a big group of Estonian fans who made the long journey to Austria.

“I did not make any particular highlights, but the key was to be consistent across all events,” Uibo said.

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SHANGHAI 800M WINNER KISASY: ‘I PLAN TO RUN UNDER 1:43 THIS YEAR’

While it is perhaps a little premature to speak of David Rudisha’s successor as the planet’s premier two-lap runner, especially as the two-time world and Olympic 800m champion and world 800m record holder is still only 29, it is inevitable an athlete will one day emerge to replace the Kenyan great.

In recent times several athletes have loomed as potential challengers to Rudisha’s long-held status. The 2017 IAAF Diamond League champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana boasts strong credentials. World champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, the charismatic Frenchman, is another with a burgeoning profile but perhaps it is Commonwealth 800m champion and Shanghai Diamond League winner Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy* who is best equipped to take on the mantle.

ATHLETICS ROOTS IN THE HIGH JUMP

Just 20, the exciting but raw Kenyan boasts many similarities to Rudisha. The pair grew up just 11km apart in Narok County. Like Rudisha, Kinyamal is a Maasai and the duo both have a similar long, raking stride which eats up the ground with ease.

Yet Kisasy’s journey as one of the world’s most exciting 800m talents is a little less formulaic than most.

Born the fifth of six children, Kisasy’s father and three brothers share a passion for football, but the middle-distance star has no interest in kicking a ball. Instead, he started his sporting journey as a promising schoolboy high jumper.

Boasting a personal best of “around 2.00m” he finished in the top five in Kenyan national age-group championships before a comment from a friend in late-2015 that running might improve his high jump was to radically change the whole direction of his athletics career.

RAPID RISE

At the time based out of Keringet, he took up running and rapidly discovered a latent talent. After just a few months training he made his 800m debut, running 1:49 to win in Bondo in February 2016. Two months later he struck gold at the East African Regional Junior Championships in Tanzania – a victory which crystallised a belief his future may lie as a middle-distance runner.

“At that point I was still training on my own in Keringet (the base of world and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon),” he explains. “I was very happy with the times I had run (over 800m) after only a few of months training.”

Despite his inexperience, in June 2016 he finished third at the Kenyan Junior Trials - and just one place shy of a place on the two-man Kenyan team for the World U20 Championships team – slashing his personal best by one second to record 1:46.8.

JOINS SANG’S CAMP

Clearly boasting a special talent, he was picked up by the athletics management agency Global Sports Communication and in early 2017 Kisasy moved from Keringet to Kaptagat to come under the influence of leading Kenyan Patrick Sang – a switch which has accelerated his meteoric development.

Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy winning Commonwealth 800m gold (Getty Images)Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy winning Commonwealth 800m gold (Getty Images) 

“Since Patrick started coaching me my life has changed,” adds the softly-spoken Kinyamal, who in his spare time loves to sing to Maasai music. “When he asks me to do something, I have total faith in what he is telling me to do.”

Training largely on his own for track sessions, twice a week he joins Sang’s world-class long-distance training group for easy runs led by Olympic marathon champion and Kenyan running colossus Eliud Kipchoge.

“I have learned so much since training with them (the distance-running group),” he says. “They are a big motivation.

“Eliud offers regular advice. He tells me training is a struggle and that I need to work hard.”

Further progress came last year. On his seasonal debut in Nijmegen he ran a PB of 1:46.56. In his next outing, he scalped a further 0.89 from his lifetime best to place second in Hengelo.

INJURY FRUSTRATIONS IN 2017

His progression in 2017 was frustratingly stunted by a hamstring injury and he limped to sixth spot in the heats at the Kenyan World Championship Trials in Nairobi. The issue meant he missed two months of competitive action only to return in late August in Rovereto, Italy, where Kisasy made another giant leap forward in his fledgling career by taking victory in a stunning new personal best of 1:43.94.

“I followed the pacemaker and later (Antoine) Gakeme from Burundi,” he explains. “I moved to the front at 250m and started to push the pace. The time surprised me.”

Making his 2018 seasonal debut indoors in Dusseldorf, finishing second in 1:46.54, he also revealed another similarity to Rudisha – a lack of aptitude for running indoors.

“I found it hard running around the tight turns, because I am tall,” he explains.

A week-and-a-half later in the more familiar outdoor running environment he secured second spot at the Kenyan Commonwealth Games Trials, recording 1:44.72 - just 0.08 behind Jonathan Kitilit - to book his ticket on the Kenyan team for Gold Coast.

All smiles - Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy after winning the Commonwealth 800m title (Getty Images)All smiles - Wycliffe Kinyamal Kisasy after winning the Commonwealth 800m title 

In Australia, Kisasy backed up his raw talent to reveal genuine championship pedigree – the mark of any great champion. In the final, he hit the bell in third before making his winning move and kicking past the fading 2014 Commonwealth champion Nijel Amos at 250m.

Holding a significant advantage down much of the home stretch he repelled a blistering late charge from Englishman Kyle Langford to clinch gold by 0.05 in 1:45.11. 

Aiming to win “any medal” before the Games to take victory was the icing on the cake.

“Winning gold has given me a lot of confidence,” he says. “My career ambition now is to do a lot more in the future. I am still young and I need to do more at the 2019 World Championships (in Doha) and 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

AMBITIOUS 2018 GOALS

His Diamond League debut in Shanghai offered further evidence of his gifts. Edging a titanic tussle from Kitilit in a personal best time 1:43.91 he sent another thunderous statement to the 800m running world that he could be the man to beat for the rest of this season.

“I feel I have good speed-endurance and I plan to run under 1:43 this year,” he explains of his qualities and future plans for 2018.

Aged just 20 and with a little over 20 competitive 800m races in his life his best is clearly yet to come. Meanwhile, working under the astute and often patient stewardship of Sang is another positive sign.

Which brings us to one final question: does Kisasy have any plans to return to the high jump?

“No,” he says with a smile. “I have left the high jump in the past back in Kenya.” And after his dazzling transition into the 800m who could blame him.

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Doha & Shanghai: Five Talking Points

1. Legends fight back

Last season was a difficult one for Renaud Lavillenie and Caterine Ibarguen, both of whom surrendered the Diamond Trophy after years of dominance in the IAAF Diamond League.

For Lavillenie, it was the first time ever that he had failed to win the Diamond Trophy, while Ibargüen lost the title for the first time since 2012.

It was all the more important, then, for both of them to throw down the gauntlet and get off to a winning start in Shanghai. That they did, both leaping to victory in difficult conditions. Ibargüen's 14.80 saw her take all eight Diamond League points, while Lavillenie wrapped up a first victory in Shanghai since 2014 with 5.81m.

The Road To The Final has just begun, but these two Diamond League legends already have their sights set firmly on the ultimate prize.

2. Sprints wide open

If anyone had imagined that Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers would return to dominating the women's sprints this season, they will have to think again after Doha and Shanghai.

Both Schippers and Thompson are very much in the running, but after victories for Maria-Josée Ta Lou over 100m in Doha and Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the 200m in Shanghai, it is clear that the hunt for the Diamond Trophy is more open than ever this season.

With the likes of Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor and Shericka Jackson also notching up podium finishes in the opening two meets, it is clear that there are now at least four or five athletes who are in with a serious chance of securing the Diamond Trophy this summer.

3. New stars emerge

The prize for the biggest upset of the first two meets must surely go to Reece Prescod, who recorded a brilliant victory in the 100m in Shanghai.

Coming in at 10.04, Prescod surged past the likes of World Champion Justin Gatlin and Diamond Trophy Holder CJ Ujah to just pip Bingtian Su on the line and pick up eight points.

For the 22-year-old, it was a dream start to the Road To The Final, and proof that he can compete with the very best. Add that to the Diamond League record for Abderrahman Samba (400m hurdles, also 22) in Doha and 20-year-old Wycliffe Kinyamal's meeting record in the 800m in Shanghai, and you have the makings of a season in which several young stars could be challenging for the Diamond Trophy.

4. Gardiner the man to beat

With victories in both Doha and Shanghai, Steven Gardiner is the man of the moment in the 400m. One of the few Diamond Disciplines to have taken place at both the opening two meets, the 400m is not short of quality, but it is Gardiner who is ruling the roost at this early stage.

Beating the likes of Diamond Trophy holder Isaac Makwala in both races, Gardiner has 16 points to his name already, and is well on course to book a place in the Final.

Should Wayde Van Niekerk return from injury in time to compete for the Diamond Trophy, he too will be among the favourites, but for the time being, Gardiner is the man that any title challenger will need to get past.

5. Records fall like rain

Gardiner was one of five athletes to notch up a meeting record in Shanghai, as he joined an increasingly long list of record-breakers in the opening two meets.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo (200m), Huihui Lyu (javelin), Brianna McNeal (100m hurdles) and Wycliffe Kinyamal (800m) all also picked up meeting records in China, while two Diamond League records fell in Doha.

Sandra Perkovic launched an incredible 71.38m to stamp her authority on the women's discus as usual, while the aforementioned Abderrahman Samba delighted the home crowd with 47.57 in the 400m hurdles.

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Six World Indoor Championships medals to be reallocated in Birmingham

Six World Indoor Championships medals will be reallocated during ceremonies at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 on Friday and Saturday 2-3 March. These upgrades follow the disqualification of the results of the original medallists after their sanction for anti-doping rule violations.

Among those receiving their reallocated medals is Tianna Bartoletta of the USA, who was promoted to gold in the long jump for the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow. Her ceremony, which will include a flag raising and national anthem, will take place in Arena Birmingham at the start of the evening session on Saturday 3 March.

In total, six athletes from across five events at three previous editions of the IAAF World Indoor Championships have accepted invitations to receive their reallocated medals in Birmingham.

“After the very positive feedback at the beginning of the new reallocation process last August in London, we are delighted to continue to honour the athletes for their achievements,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. “And what better way than in front of full arena of passionate athletics fans at a major championships.”

IAAF World Indoor Championships medal reallocation ceremonies in Birmingham:

Friday 2 March

Shot put men - Moscow 2006
- Joachim Olsen, DEN, promoted from bronze to silver
Time slot: 17:44
Shot put men - Doha 2010
- Ralf Bartels, GER, promoted from bronze to silver
Time slot: 17:46

Saturday 3 March

Long jump women - Moscow 2006
- Tianna Bartoletta, USA, promoted from silver to gold
- Concepcion Montaner, ESP, promoted from fourth to bronze
Time slot: 17:33
Triple jump women - Valencia 2008
- Marija Šestak, SLO, promoted from bronze to silver
Time slot 17:36
Pentathlon women - Doha 2010
- Hyleas Fountain, USA, promoted from fourth to bronze
Time slot 17:38

Naide Gomes (POR), who was promoted to silver in the long jump in 2006, Li Meiju (CHN) and Misleydis Gonzalez (CUB), who were promoted to silver and bronze in the shot put in 2008, Olga Rypakova (KAZ), promoted to bronze in the triple jump for 2008, Valerie Adams (NZL) and Nadine Kleinert (GER), who were promoted to gold and bronze in the shot put in 2010, and Michelle Carter (USA), who was promoted to silver in the shot put for 2012, are unable to attend. The IAAF is in contact with their national federations to find other occasions to present them with their medals.

The Czech Republic women's team that was promoted to bronze in the 4x400m relay in 2010 will receive their medals at the IAAF Continental Cup in September in Ostrava.

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Cuban athletes excel at Metz Indoor Meeting


Cubans Roger Valentin Iribarne and Juan Miguel Echevarria had amazing performances in the 2018 Metz Indoor Meeting.

Iribarne won the men´s 60 meters event with time of 7.59 seconds and was escorted by Hungarian Balazs Baji (7.61), 2017 world bronze medalist, and British David King (7.63).

Meanwhile, Echevarria, who is only 19, ranked second in the men´s long jump with record of 8.34 meters in an event won by South African Luvo Manyonga, Olympic runner-up and world monarch, who could only beat the Cuban boy in his last attempt with record of 8.40 meters.

Greek Miltiadis Tentoglou (7.95), junior world runner-up, finished third.

After this performance, Manyonga and Echevarria appear one and second, in that order, in the world ranking so far the season, while Iribarne ranks ninth in his event.

Two other Cubans will compete next Tuesday in the Barcelona Meeting, in Spain, and they are Yoandys Lescay, in the men´s 400 meters, and Yorgelis Rodriguez (women´s high jump).

The latter, who is a specialist in heptathlon, is debuting this season in the high jump event and finished second last Thursday at the Madrid Meeting with 1.85 meters, her indoor personal best.

Rodriguez, Cuba´s national record holder in heptathlon, will attend the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships to be held in Birmingham, UK, where she should compete in pentathlon and high jump events.

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Husillos and Lasitskene excel in Madrid while Dos Santos jumps world lead

The Madrid Indoor Meeting was highlighted by Spain’s Óscar Husillos, who beat multiple world indoor and European indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak, while Maria Lasitskene comfortably won the high jump before attempting a would-be career best of 2.07m at the Spanish stop of the IAAF World Indoor Tour on Thursday (8).

The other highlight from the infield came from Brazil’s Almir Dos Santos, who produced a world-leading PB of 17.35m to win a quality triple jump competition.

Husillos delights the home crowd

The much-awaited men’s 400m witnessed a frantic start by Maslak. Drawn in the outside line, the two-time world indoor champion reached the bell in 21.49 but Spain’s emerging star Husillos was just inches behind.

Maslak held off the pressure from Husillos for much of the second half, but on the short final straight the Spaniard found an extra gear to overtake the Czech sprinter, much to the delight of the home crowd. His reward was a career best and national indoor record of 45.86 while Slovenia’s Luka Janezic also pipped Maslak to the runner-up spot, 46.08 to 46.14.

“Breaking my national record and beating such an extraordinary athlete like Pavel Maslak are fantastic achievements for me,” said Husillos, who will compete at the Spanish Championships next weekend. “I can’t ask for more in my opener over the distance this year. I look forward to competing in Birmingham (at the IAAF World Indoor Championships).”

While the men’s 400m went down to the wire, there was nothing unexpected about the winner of the women’s high jump.

Lasitskene was an overwhelming victor, enjoying first-time clearances at1.85m and 1.90m before needing two attempts to get over 1.95m and 2.00m. The bar was then raised to 2.07m, a would-be career best for the two-time world champion. She had three decent attempts but had to be content with her 34th win in a row.

Maria Lasitskene wins the high jump at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand)Maria Lasitskene wins the high jump at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright

With a best of 1.85m, Cuban heptathlete Yorgelis Rodríguez finished a surprise second on countback from Germany’s Marie Laurence Jungfleisch and Britain’s Morgan Lake.

“Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed today because I didn’t expect to be the only jumper in contention so early,” said Lasitskene, who reportedly doesn’t do any weight lifting in training as her coach Guennadi Gavrilián says she is strong enough without it. “It was a very short competition for my taste. Anyway, today has been another step towards the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.”

Dos Santos, a star in the making

The men’s triple jump was a thrilling battle between Dos Santos and Portugal’s 2008 Olympic champion Nelson Evora.

Evora took an early lead with his opening leap of 17.02m while Dos Santos landed at 16.96m. The 33-year-old, who is now based in Spain, extended his lead in round two with a big season’s best of 17.30m, just three centimetres shy of the indoor PB he set 10 years ago.

Almir dos Santos in the triple jump at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand)Almir dos Santos in the triple jump at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright

But Dos Santos, a former high jump specialist, responded with an outright lifetime best of 17.35m in round three to not only take top spot in the competition but also pole position on this year’s world list.

The 24-year-old went on to produce a fine 17.19m fourth-round leap – his second furthest ever – while Evora didn’t manage another valid jump with his remaining attempts.

Dibaba, Stanek and Kszczot maintain momentum

On the day of her 27th birthday, Genzebe Dibaba was once again victorious in her specialist event, the 1500m.

The Ethiopian star was perfectly paced by Colombia’s Muriel Coneo, who went through the opening 400m in 1:03.21 and followed with a 2:07.50 800m split. Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, in a bid to improve on her recent PB of 4:04.00, was just 10 metres behind Dibaba at that point.

As was the case in Karlsruhe five days ago, Dibaba’s speed slowed down slightly when the pacesetter left. With 3:29 showing on the clock as the bell sounded for Dibaba’s final lap, it became clear that another sub-four-minute effort would be just outside her reach.

Genzebe Dibaba on her way to winning the 1500m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand)Genzebe Dibaba on her way to winning the 1500m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright

The three-time world indoor champion won in a meeting record of 4:02.43, while Klosterhalfen never gave up and finished second in 4:04.72, just 0.7 outside her PB. Britain’s Eilish McColgan was third in an indoor PB of 4:08.07.

World leader Tomas Stanek opened the men’s shot put with a 21.51m heave. After a foul in round two, he extended his lead in the third round with a meeting record of 21.69m before rounding out his series with a foul, 21.15m and 20.02m.

Shot put winner Tomas Stanek at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand)Shot put winner Tomas Stanek at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright

The European indoor silver medallist remains unbeaten this season in three outings. Poland’s Michal Haratyk came second with 20.96m to finish two centimetres ahead of Croatia’s Stipe Zunic. USA’s Ryan Whiting was never a factor but managed a season’s best of 20.36m.

The men’s 800m promised to be a fierce encounter between ‘Mr Indoor’ Adam Kszczot of Poland and Spain’s rising star Álvaro de Arriba.

After three relatively comfortable laps – and having passed the half-way point in 52 seconds – the Pole injected his trademark turbo as he approached the bell and was never threatened by De Arriba. Kscczot went on to win in 1:46.53 while Morocco’s Mostafa Smaili came through to take second place in 1:46.72. De Arriba was third in 1:47.29.

Filippidis prevails over Lisek

Greece’s 2014 world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis defeated pre-event favourite and world silver medallist Piotr Lisek in the pole vault.

Filippidis was on the brink of exiting the contest as he needed three attempts at 5.75m. He then cleared 5.85m on his second attempt to move into the lead. After clearing 5.80m, Lisek skipped straight to 5.90m but was unable to scale that height. The Pole still leads the World Indoor Tour standings, though, with Filippidis moving into second place ahead of Raphael Holzdeppe.

Lea Sprunger on her way to winning the 400m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand)Lea Sprunger on her way to winning the 400m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid (Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright

Switzerland’s European 400m hurdles bronze medallist Lea Sprunger was a clear victor in the women’s 400m. After reaching the bell in 24.42, the long-legged 27-year-old romped home in a European-leading 51.61 to move up to third on this season’s world list.

In the absence of Yunier Pérez, who injured himself after winning his semifinal in 6.58, USA’s Michael Rodgers won a close 60m final in 6.63, just 0.01 ahead of 2014 world indoor champion Richard Kilty.

Elsewhere, Viktoriya Prokopenko won the women’s triple jump with a fourth-round leap of 14.31m to finish 10 centimetres ahead Romania’ Andrea Panturoiu.

Djibouti’s 2012 world indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman won the men’s 1500m in 3:38.47 while Sweden’s Meraf Batha won the women’s 3000m in a Swedish record of 8:42.46 ahead of Ethiopian junior Fantu Worku, 8:42.69.

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Victor Lopez: “Cuba is paramount in the development of NACAC and track and field”

Puerto Rican Victor Lopez heads the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association since 2013. His management will end in 2019. He agreed to talk to CubaSi:

Why Cuba and specially Marabana for this competition?

First of all, I would like to thank Marabana’s Organizing Committee and the Cuban Athletic Federation for allowing us to add this competition to this race.

According to an IAAF order — since Sebastian Coe assumed responsibility—, it is all about inserting street races to those already established all over the world to draw the public’s attention and encourage young people, as they see elite athletes running alongside them. I believe this first edition of NACAC marathon has been a resounding success.

How do you see the area within the current world athletic panorama regarding future events?

The NACAC senior is a very important event and will be held in Toronto in August 10-12. The European and African championships will take place the same week. We hope the main stars can participate as Canada, U.S., and Cuba confirmed their attendance. Can you imagine the quality of this event with all the stars dispersed all over the world?

What’s your view on the track and field in the area and your assessment of 2017?

The area is doing fine. We are having prominent results within IAAF and we hope to continue that way. The Pan American U20 was sensational: thirteen Pan American records and one world record. U17 athletes got awesome results in Nairobi; some of them were even elite marks.

I have two priorities before ending my term as head of NACAC in 2019. The first, it is my goal that all of our events can be televised worldwide as well as the Diamond League. In this regard, we gave shape to a collaborative agreement with one prestigious TV network.

The second is related to marketing. We are sponsored by Puma and Mondo. Inserting our best athletes in quality competitive scenarios leads necessarily to preserving traditions and keep growing.

Years of friendship with Cuba. How is your relation with Cuba both as president of NACAC and Puerto Rican?

Cuba’s helps has been outstanding and your stance in favor of the development of track and field and the rest of sports is unique. The delegate of Trinidad and Tobago told me about his idea of Cuba, a third-world country mired in poverty…

There are limitations as in every other nation of the world. But Cuba has been always willing to help and cooperate with its human resources in first place with any country.

All the islands know Cuba offers its helps unselfishly. That is why we found elite throwers in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and Grenada…

That is a perfect example of solidarity in sports, very similar to the one showed with those countries affected by hurricanes this season in Dominica and Puerto Rico.

We have not recovered yet and two months have already passed. I am personally grateful with this country and its people. And as the Lola Rodriguez Tio’s poem reads: we are always the two wings of the same bird.

To highlight NACAC growing power in track and field, the region won 13 gold medals, 14 silver medals, and 15 bronze medals in IAAF World Championship London 2017.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz / CubaSi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials
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