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Padua, ItalyNine London Olympic medallists highlighted the 26th edition of the International Meeting in Padua on Sunday (2) held in a thrilling atmosphere in front of many excited children who packed the stands of the Euganeo Stadium.
Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter, double Olympic 4x100m Relay champion and World record holder with 36.84 in London, topped the bill with a new meeting record of 10.09 for his second consecutive victory here. Last year he equalled Coby Miller's meet record with 10.10 despite a strong headwind of -1.6 m/s. Trell Kimmons, Olympic 4x100m Relay silver medallist, took runner-up spot with 10.14 ahead of Zambia’s Gerald Phiri (10.20).
"I feel in pretty good shape. I am happy to remove the meeting record. It was a special feeling to end the Olympic Games with a new 4x100 World record on the 50th Anniversary of Jamaican Independence. I have still Brussels next week and then let’s see what happens", said Carter, the fifth fastest man in history with his 9.78 clocked in Rieti in 2010.
The other International star of the meeting, Jason Richardson from the USA, reigning World champion in Daegu and Olympic silver medallist in London, tied Mark Crear’s 14-year-old meeting record in the men's 110m Hurdles with 13.18 to edge Olympic finalist Lehann Fourie who set his PB clocking 13.27.
"I am blessed to be part of a great field in a great meeting. I know that Olympic champions like Anier Garcia, Liu Xiang, Dayron Robles and Aries Merritt competed in the past in Padua and I am happy to join the group of athletes who made the history of this meeting. It was a good race where Fourie set his PB," said Richardson.
"My season was really amazing. Of course I wished I would have won more races but I have been running professionally for four years. My season is far from over because I have Zagreb and the Diamond League final in Brussels."
Italian fans celebrated the Olympic bronze medal and the European gold medal won by Italian record holder Fabrizio Donato. The 36-year-old Italian triple jumper, first three days ago in Zurich with 17.29m on a rainy evening, produced another solid performance despite the tiredness after the long season winning with 16.84m. His second best jump of 16.76m (the only other valid jump of the evening) would have been enough to beat Olympic fourth placer Daniele Greco who started with three fouls but managed to leap to 16.56m to take second place.
Donato is the first Italian athlete to win a Samsung Diamond League meeting and the second Italian to win at the Zurich Weltklasse on Thursday after 3000m Steeplechase runner Francesco Panetta in 1988.
After the competition Donato signed autographs to the huge crowd of children who attended. This week Donato took part in two kids clinic in Mendrisio (on the eve of Zurich) and Padua.
"It was an exciting season and I want to end it on a high note. I will compete in the Long Jump in Rovereto and in the Triple Jump in Rieti. As a father of a six-year-old (Greta) I really enjoyed meeting children during these clinics," said Donato.
Anneisha McLaughlin from Jamaica, the 2011 World University Games champion, took the win in the women’s 200m in 22.70 ahead of 4x100m London-bound Janeba Tarmoh who finished second in 22.83. 400m Olympic semifinalist Libania Grenot set her PB with 22.85 and the second fastest time ever in Italy continuing her recent post-Olympic season in which she also clocked 50.55 in the 400m in Budapest on 20 August, the third fastest time in her career.
European Under 23 champion and European Indoor champion Darya Klishina from Russia leapt to 6.63m in the second attempt which was enough to take the win by three centimetres over Chelsea Hayes of the U.S. Nastasia Ivanova Mironchik, fourth at the World Championships in Daegu, finished third with 6.59m in a close contest.
"I felt comfortable today on a very good track. It was my first time ever in Italy and I enjoyed the atmosphere and the support from the crowd. Of course I am disappointed to miss the Olympic Games but I am still motivated for the rest of the season. I am planning to compete in Zagreb on Tuesday," said Klishina.
Cuban Omar Cisneros, who dipped under 48 seconds in the 400m Hurdles and finished second in Zurich last Thursday, set a new PB in the 400m with 45.47 to win ahead of Calvin Smith Jr (45.51) and double 400m Hurdles Olympic champion and Zurich Diamond League 400m Hurdles winner Angelo Taylor (45.74).
The men’s 800m win went to Australian Jeffrey Riseley in 1:46.38 over Qatar’s Mohamed Garni (1:46.63). Italian champion Giordano Benedetti, who broke the 1:46 barrier this year when he ran 1:45.34 in Lignano Sabbiadoro, clocked 1:46.76 to finish third.
Russian middle-distance runners dominated the 800 and 1500m. Former European Under 23 champion Yelena Kofanova, who missed the Olympic Games in London but won the Monaco Samsung Diamond League meeting, easily held off Kenyan Eunice Sum in the final straight to win in 2:00.93. Hannah England from Great Britain, world silver medallist in Daegu 2011 in the 1500m, confirmed her late-season good form by taking third in 2:01.63.
Yuliya Chizenko, former World Indoor champion in Moscow 2006, prevailed in a slow women’s 1500m race in 4:11.50 ahead of 2012 European bronze medallist Anna Mishchenko (4:12.16).
Canadian Justin Rodhe, a 21.11m performer, produced a best release of 20.34 to take a comfortable win in the men’s Shot Put. His four valid throws (19.43m-20.06m-19.92m and 20.06m) would have been enough to beat 2003 World Champion Andrei Miknevich from Belarus who had to settle with 18.91m.
Andrei's wife Nataliya Miknevich, Olympic silver medallist in Beijing, produced five valid attempts over 18 metres with a best release of 18.80m, nine centimetres further than Trinidad and Tobago's Cleopatra Borel. Irina Tarasova from Russia, European silver medallist in Helsinki, clinched third place with 18.68m, well over local favourite Chiara Rosa (17.67m) who celebrated her European bronze medal won in Helsinki in front of her family and friends as she hails from Padua.
Another win for Belarus came from pole vaulter Anastasya Shvedova who vaulted 4.55m in the first attempt to beat Russian Anastasia Kiryashova (4.45m) before making three attempts at the new national record of 4.66m.