29 MAY 2005 General News

Asigbee and Smith take inaugural NACAC Combined Events titles

Fiona Asigbee (USA) (Getty Images)Fiona Asigbee (USA) (Getty Images) © Copyright

Three national records and a near miss at an area record highlighted the action on Sunday at the Sixto Escobar Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as the inaugural North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Combined Events Championships - IAAF World Combined Events Challenge - concluded.
 
Unfortunately, the Puerto Rican crowd did not get to see three men going over 8000 points in the same contest, nor even two. But they did see two women over 5500, and one of the three national records to go down was established by a Puerto Rican, whilst a Caribbean man won the Decathlon.
 
DECATHLON - A new Jamaican record
 
Maurice Smith built on his opening day total of 4299 points, his best-ever performance after Day 1, doing just enough to hold off the chasing pack and secure the Jamaican national record. The 24-year-old almost precisely matched the Day 2 total that gave him his personal best mark of 8024 last year.
 
On this occasion, not only did Smith reset his personal best, but he erased the mark of 8225 previously laid down by Claston Bernard at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens, Greece last year. His new record total of 8232 just missed Raúl Duany’s (CUB) Central American and Caribbean record of 8252.
 
Smith began Day 2 running 14.17 to finish second in the 110m Hurdles. He added a mark of 50.62m to win the Discus Throw, then went on to match his personal record for Pole Vault, his 4.30m the joint fifth best height. Smith was third in Javelin Throw and 1500m with 56.76 and 4:36.00.
 
Smith was pushed hard
 
Ryan Harlan, 105 points behind on Day 1, started Day 2 with a 13.93-second win in Hurdles. His 42.80m in Discus Throw kept him close in second place. He kept in touch with third (4.60m) in Pole Vault, but even a Javelin Throw win (57.75m) was not enough. His 4:52.56 in 1500m left the American on 7997.
 
Unsurprisingly, Paul Terek won his strongest event, the Pole Vault, with 5.30m, but by then he had had too much to do to catch up. Posting 4144 on Day 1, he opened Day 2 with a weak 15.19 in Hurdles, and 40.39m in Discus Throw. A Javelin Throw mark of 47.10 was offset by 4:32.28 in 100m leaving him with 7923.
 
The third American in the competition, Chris Boyles posted 7679 (11.11/+3.2, 7.17m/+2.4, 14.75m, 2.01m, 50.75, 14.75, 41.10m, 4.70m, 53.95m, 4:55.01), with Guatemala’s Octavious Gillespie (11.43/+2.5, 7.15m/+2.6, 13.22m, 2.01m, 52.54, 15.17, 39.36m, 4.30m, 60.65m, 5:08.50) posting 7255 to complete the top five.
 
Puerto Rico’s Steven Marrero put up a mark of 7240 with Day 2 scores of 16.08, 41.20m, 4.50m, 51.92m and 4:30.47. Andrés Horacio Mantilla reset Colombia’s national record to 6973 (11.18/+3.2, 6.55m/+2.5, 12.20m, 1.95m, 51.86, 15.14, 40.46m, 4.00m, 49.63m, 4:48.40) the 22-year-old eclipsing his previous best mark of 6875.
 
HEPTATHLON - American women hold on easily
 
There was no change among the top three women contesting the Heptathlon. Fiona Asigbee won with 5868, her new personal best. She added to her best-ever Day 1 score of 3640 with a personal best 6.01m Long Jump win, a best effort of 35.94m in Javelin Throw and 2:22.85 in the 800m.
 
Less than 15 points back after Day 1, Tracey Lawyer-Thomas ended with 5603. With a trailing wind of 3.2 metres per second, she cleared 5.74m in Long Jump, good only for fourth. Her sub-par 38.07m in Javelin Throw threw her off course, and she ended with 2:39.69 in the 800m.
 
Jackie Poulson held on for bronze. The American posted a total of 5499. Her Long Jump of 5.72m (wind 2.9m/s) was well below her best. She redeemed herself somewhat by finishing second (41.14m) in the Javelin Throw, and winning the 800m (2:17.56) with her second best time ever, but it was still not enough.
 
Ortiz’ PB gives hosts a national record to celebrate
 
Poulson also held off the hard-charging Coralys Ortiz, a Puerto Rican. Just turned 20, Ortiz posted a Day 1 personal record 3056. Holding on to seventh place after the opening day, she had turned in her career best marks for 100m Hurdles (14.45, 2.8m/s), High Jump (1.58m) and 200m (25.76, 1.5, m/s).
 
On Day 2, Ortiz easily surpassed her personal record of 5046, also leaving behind the national record of 5227 established by Zolymar Febles in late 2003. Ortiz set a mark of 5321, based principally on her strong Javelin Throw performance of 49.24m, with 5.51m in Long Jump and 2:26.50 in 800m.
 
She did not have as strong a second day as she would have liked, but Puerto Rico’s other young talent, Yaritza Rivera, set a new personal record with a mark of 4949. Sub-standard performances in Long Jump (5.09m) and 800m (2:27.60) were not offset by her weakest event, Javelin Throw, even if her 32.31 was a personal record.
 
Rivera finished eighth, with the Colombian duo of Diana Ibarguen (5203 - 14.24/+1.5, 1.58m 11.66m 25.73/+1.2, 5.68m+2.9, 39.17m 2:30.89) and Nazlhy Perea (5099 - 14.96/+1.5, 1.70m, 10.85m, 26.54/+1.2, 5.75m/+2.6, 37.10m, 2:31.47) and Jamaica’s Nadina Marsh (4977 - 14.40/+2.8, 1.70m, 10.69m, 26.13/+1.2, 5.50m/+2.8, 35.64m, 2:41.67) ahead of her.

Terry Finisterre for the IAAF