Osleidys Menéndez highlighted the most prolific day of success for Cuban athletics at the XV Pan-American Games of Rio by winning the Javelin Throw with 62.34m on Friday 27 July at the “Estádio João Havelange” of the Cidade Maravilhosa.
Cuba also posted victories at the Men’s High Jump, by Víctor Moya, the country’s only male medallist so far in the men’s side, and by Roxana Díaz (200m), Yargelis Savigne (Triple Jump) and Misleydis González (Shot Put).
Signs of recovery
The 27-year-old Menéndez, from Martí, Matanzas, is recovering from some physical problems that have bothered her in 2006 and the early parts of the current season. Her winning throw posted a year’s best with her second round effort. Her series: Foul, 62.34, 59.04, foul, 61.12 and 60.60. This is the second Pan-Am Games title for the World Record holder and World champion Menéndez, after the one she won in Winnipeg ’99 with 65.85.
Her compatriot Sonia Bisset was second with 60.68, and 42-year-old Bahamian Laverne Eve was third with 58.10. It was Bisset’s first medal and Eve’s fourt at the Games.
In the Shot Put, Misleydis González gave Cuba its sixth gold medal at the event by taking the win with 18.83. The 29-year-old from Bayamo, Granma was dominant in the second part of the event. All her last 3 throws were good for the victory. Her series: 17.10, 18.28, 17.99, 18.51, 18.83 and 18.49.
One – Two in all women’s throws
Cuban Yumileidi Cumbá, the 2004 Olympic Champion, was second with 18.28. With this 1-2 at the Shot, Cuba completed a remarkable sweep in the female throws by taking gold-and-silver in all 4: González-Cumbá at Shot, Yarelis Barrios-Yania Ferrales at Discus, Yipsi Moreno-Arasay Thondike at Hammer and Menéndez-Bisset at Javelin.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra Borel-Brown completed the podium with 18.22.
Moya’s 2.32 to Thomas’ 2.30
In the Men’s High Jump, 2005 World Championships silver medalist Víctor Moya pulled out a the victory over Bahamas’ Donald Thomas with a third attempt clearance at 2.32m.
Thomas, who has a season’s best of 2.35, the world’s top performance of 2007, was leading after 2.30, having taken that jump on his second attempt versus Moya’s third. After 2 fouls a piece Moya went over 2.32m in dramatic fashion, while Thomas couldn’t.
Moya’s victory is the fifth by Cuban athletes in the event, joining Javier Sotomayor (3 titles) and Juan Francisco Centelles.
Antigua’s James Grayman completed the podium with 2.24, same height than places 4-6 (Jessé de Lima, Gerardo Martínez and Adam Shunk).
Savigne sets a Games’ record twice
In the women’s Triple Jump, 22 year-old Yargelis Savigne from Niceto Pérez, Guantánamo set a Games record with 14.80 (wind 0.5) for the victory. The event has been contested at the Games since Mar del Plata ’95, and since then the victory has always gone to Cuba through Laiza Carrillo (14.09 ’95), Yamilé Aldama (14.77 ’99), Mabel Gay (14.46 ’03), and now through Savigne.
Savigne, the 2005 World Championships silver medalist had a brilliant contest, beating the old Games record twice. Her series was: 14.33, 14.46, 14.54, 14.78, 14.80 and foul.
Brazil’s Keila Costa added a silver medal to the one earned at the Long Jump. Costa, girlfriend of Panama’s Irving Saladino jumped 14.38/-0.3 in the fifth round. Cuban Mabel Gay was third with 14.26/0.0 and Maurren Maggi, winner of the Long Jump was third with 14.07/0.9.
Track defence for Díaz
Roxana Díaz gave Cuba it’s only gold medal, so far, in track events, after winning the 200m in 22.90 (wind -0.6). The defending champion Díaz was pushed at the bend and came into the straight in fourth place, but first passed Virgil Hodge (SKN), then Sherry Fletcher (GRN), and at finally Sheri-Ann Brooks (JAM) at the tape for a narrow victory. Brooks’ time was 22.92 and Fletcher’s 22.96.
The evening was the coolest day so far in the warm winter in Rio, and that was felt at both 200m finals. In the men’s race, also decided by a slim margin, Antigua’s Brendan Christian obtained a historil gold, the first at the athletics events of the Games for his country, by winning with 20.37.
Christian was able to hold-off the attack of Jamaican Marvin Anderson, second in 20.38. In an accidental final with American Jarvis Vaden not starting, Cuban Michael Herrera falling injured and Brazilian Sandro Viana disqualified, US Rubin Williams was third with 20.57.
Kunkel beats Sánchez of last barrier
The final of the 400m Hurdles also ended in dramatic fashion. Dominican Félix Sánchez, 2-time World Champion and the reigning Olympic champion, had left a good impression in his heat, and just like in his best days, started the race as its favourite.
Attacking the first 5 hurdles with his left leg, Sánchez made an adjustment at the sixth obstacle, which he had to attack with his right leg, and the Dominican seemed in control entering the final 100m even with Canada’s Adam Kunkel close.
With both athletes even at the last hurdle, tragedy stroke for Sánchez at the tenth. The 29-year-old born in New York City attacked it with his left leg but brushed the hurdle with his right knee, stumbling and loosing time and chances to even reach the podium.
Kunkel won with a national record time of 48.24, second was Panama’s Bayano Kamani with a sb of 48.70, third US Laron Bennett with 49.07, all ahead of Sánchez (49.28).
Yet more gold for Canada
Canada added its sixth medal of these Games through Megan Metcalfe, who took the victory in the 5000m with 15:35.78.
American Catherine Ferrell set the pace throughout the most part of the race with splits of 3:11.62, 6:20.67, 9:31.44 and 12:41.84 for each one of the first 4 km. But then Metcalfe exploded away with a 2:53 last 1000m which was decisive.
Ferrell was able to capture the silver with a person best of 15:42.01 that rewarded her valiant race, while Mexican Nora Leticia Rocha, was third with 15:43.80.
Seventh title at 10,000m for Mexico
José David Galván became the seventh Mexican to win the 10,000m title at the Games with his 28:08.74 championship record. Brazilians Marílson dos Santos and Clodoaldo da Silva took over the pace after the 5000m (14:20.94) trying to make the race faster.
Da Silva and Torres fell off the leading group and dos Santos entered the final km (25:32.52) accompanied by Galván and fellow Mexican Alejandro Suárez. In a thrilling final lap, Galván was able to beat the local dos Santos in the final stages (28:09.30), while Suárez finished third with 28:09.95.
Brazilian gold at 1500m
Redemption for dos Santos came later, when his wife Juliana Paula dos Santos won the 1500m in 4:13.36, becoming the first Brazilian to win a middle distance’s event in the female division of the Games.
After early pacing by American Lindsey Gallo, 1:08.53, 2:18.75 and 3:28.55 for each lap, dos Santos went ahead with a very strong move, covering the final 300m in less than 45 seconds. Mary Jane Harrelson also went with dos Santos, but the speed of the Brazilian couldn’t be matched. The American was second with 4:15.24 and Colombian Rosibel García added a bronze to her 800m silver with a national record time of 4:15.78.
The last day at the track will be Saturday (28) with 12 finals at the João Havelange and one at the “Parque do Flamengo”: the 50Km Race Walking. The men’s Marathon will be contested on Sunday (29), the last day of the Pan-American Games.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF
Results – Day 5
1 Brendan Christian ANT 20.37
2 Marvin Anderson JAM 20.38
3 Rubin Williams USA 20.57
4 Michael Matheau BAH 20.89
5 Emmanuel Callander TRI 21.03
Michael Herrera CUB DNF
Sandro Viana BRA DQ
Jordan Vaden USA DNS
1 José David Galván MEX 28:08.74 *
2 Marílson dos Santos BRA 28:09.30
3 Alejandro Suárez MEX 28:09.95
4 Jorge Torres USA 28:28.48
5 Clodoaldo da Silva BRA 28:28.92
6 Jason Hartmann USA 29:02.89
7 William Naranjo COL 29:13.93
8 Freddy González VEN 29:38.04
1 Adam Kunkel CAN 48.24 NR
2 Bayano Kamani PAN 48.70
3 Laron Bennett USA 49.07
4 Félix Sánchez DOM 49.28
5 Dean Griffiths JAM 49.30
6 Javier Culson PUR 49.46
7 Mahau Suguimati BRA 49.63
8 Raphael Fernández BRA 51.76
1 Víctor Moya CUB 2.32
2 Donald Thomas BAH 2.30
3 James Grayman ANT 2.24
4 Jessé de Lima BRA 2.24
5 Gerardo Martínez MEX 2.24
6 Adam Shunk USA 2.24
7= Trevor Barry & Jamie Nieto USA 2.21
1 Roxana Díaz CUB 22.90
2 Sheri-Ann Brooks JAM 22.92
3 Sherry Fletcher GRN 22.96
4 Virgil Hodge SKN 23.05
5 Aleen Bailey JAM 23.09
6 Felipa Palacios COL 23.34
7 Shareese Woods USA 23.34
8 Latonia Wilson USA 23.50
1 Juliana Paula dos Santos BRA 4:13.36
2 Mary Jayne Harrelson USA 4:15.24
3 Rosibel García COL 4:15.78 NR
4 Marian Burnett GUY 4:17.91 NR
5 Lysaira del Valle PUR 4:18.40
6 Lindsey Gallo USA 4:18.87
7 Sabine Heitling BRA 4:19.21
8 Valeria Rodríguez ARG 4:21.67
1 Megan Metcalfe CAN 15:35.78
2 Catherine Ferrell USA 15:42.01
3 Nora Leticia Rocha MEX 15:43.80
4 Dulce María Rodríguez MEX 15:46.89
5 Lucélia Peres BRA 15:47.61
6 Bertha Sánchez COL 15:49.97
7 Ednalva da Silva BRA 15:55.46
8 Mandi Zemba USA 16:08.09
1 Yargelis Savigne CUB 14.80/0.5 *
2 Keila Costa BRA 14.38/-0.3
3 Mabel Gay CUB 14.26/0.0
4 Maurren Maggi BRA 14.07/0.9
5 Shani Marks USA 13.92/0.0
6 Yvette Lewis USA 13.49/-0.4
7 Ayanna Alexander TRI 13.21/0.5
8 Michelle Vaughn GUY 13.18/-0.1
1 Misleydis González CUB 18.83
2 Yumileidi Cumbá CUB 18.28
3 Cleopatra Borel-Brown TRI 18.22
4 Jillian Camarena USA 18.11
5 Kristin Heaston USA 17.88
6 Elisângela Adriano BRA 17.73
7 Natalia Ducó CHI 16.92 AR-j
8 Andréa Pereira Britto BRA 16.52
1 Osleidys Menéndez CUB 62.34
2 Sonia Bisset CUB 60.68
3 Laverne Eve BAH 58.10
4 Dana Pounds USA 58.00
5 Alessandra Resende BRA 57.95
6 Erna-Gene Evans LCA 54.23
7 Dalila Rugama NCA 52.36
8 Leryn Franco PAR 52.24
* Games record