It was Russia’s night in the Pankritio Stadium in Heraklion, as Svetlana Feofanova took back the World record from her compatriot Yelena Isinbayeva with a clearance of 4.88m and Gulnara Samitova set a new standard for the women’s 3000m Steeplechase of 9:01.59 in the Super Grand Prix “Tsiklitiria -OPAP” on 4 July.
It was only last Sunday that Isinbayeva set her record of 4.87m in Gateshead and tonight Feofanova assured that this would be little more than a seven-day-wonder as she cleared 4.88 at her second attempt to snatch back, at least for a little while the record holder’s laurels. Feofanova cleared all her last three heights at her second attempt, vaulting 4.65, then 4.75, before having the bar moved up to the World record height. Isinbayeva cleared 4.65 at her second attempt before three failures at 4.75.
Confidently, Feofanova said after the record breaking clearance, “I was expecting to achieve the World record. I learnt that the stadium was new and I was afraid that I might have some problems, but at the end I was proven wrong, only the breeze made my effort a little more difficult. I believe that 4.90 will be quickly broken by either me or Isinbayeva or Dragila, since we have the potential to do this.”
Samitova improves her Steeplechase record
Samitova had the crowd in the Heraklion Olympic Stadium on its feet as she completed a brilliant solo run to set a new World record in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, bettering by seven seconds the record she had set in August last year.
It was a solo race for the Russian in the last three laps as she completely outdistanced the rest of the field, to finish 27.31 seconds ahead of second-placed Inzikuru Dorcus from Uganda (9:29.30), with third-place finisher Bouchra Chaabi from Morocco crossing the line in 9:30.35 .
Samitova came here with the aim of improving her record and she fulfilled that aim brilliantly: “I was expecting to make a record and I wanted it a lot. What I didn’t know was how much I could improve my time. My performance tonight was amazing and now I am expecting to go below nine minutes in my next competition."
"The stadium here is wonderful as well as the people who supported my efforts, but the air made my work a little difficult (around 23 degrees centigrade with only a slight breeze). Unfortunately in the Olympic Games this event does not exist but I will be present and I will compete in the 5000 metres.”
Shaheen - convincing win
The men’s 3000m Steeplechase was won convincingly by Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen, who finished nearly 11 seconds ahead of Wesley Kiprotich from Kenya. David Chemweno of Kenya was third. Shaheen clocked 8:01.97 to Kiprotich’s 8:12.19 and Chemwemo’s 8:13.12.
15.34 world lead and Russian record for Lebedeva
Tatyana Lebedeva got the Tsiklitiria meeting off to a flying start with an opening jump of 15.02 metres that set a new competition record for this IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting, a mark she was to demolish with her fifth round attempt, bounding out to 15.28 metres. But this was not enough for the Russian, who closed her competition with a world leading 15.34 metres - Russian record (15.32 previous mark) - with her last round, bettering her previous season’s leader of 15.23, also set on Crete in the Rethymno meeting on 23 June and setting a new National Record in the process with this, the second longest jump in history.
Lebedeva’s success seemed to have inspired Senegal's Kene Ndoye, who followed Lebedeva down the runway and set a new national record for Senegal with her effort of 15.00 metres. Not looking on top of her game, Yamile Aldama edged another Russian Anna Pyatykh off the podium with a final round effort of 15.84 to the Russian girl’s best measure of 14.80. Earlier, Trecia Smith had established a new national record for Jamaica of 14.56 metres.
Lebedeva surprised herself with her performance: “It was a great surprise even for me. Two days ago (in Rome) I achieved a new personal best in long jump and I didn’t expect to repeat such a great performance today because I was tired. However, the stadium is very good and the people very friendly. That is why my last two tries I did my best to please the people. Now I am waiting for the Olympic Games, that are for me dream and hope.”
Ceplak wins closely fought race
Rather less than fresh after her winning effort in the second leg of the IAAF Golden League in Rome on Friday, Slovenia’s Jolanda Ceplak nonetheless held off the assault of Russia’s Natalya Krushchelyova and Morocco’s Sultan Ait Hammou to win a closely-fought 800 metres.
As the leaders came through 600 metres in 1:31 and the pacemaker dropped off, the Russian and Moroccan drew up alongside Ceplak and the three were shoulder to shoulder down the home straight, but in the final 30 metres, Ceplak drew on her reserves and kicked out to cross the line in a winning time of 1:59.94, to Krushchelyova’s 2:00.26 and Ait Hammou’s 2:00.88.
Ceplak confessed that she was not totally fresh: “I was very tired, since two days ago I competed in Rome. However, I am happy to win the race. Until the Olympic Games I will run two more races. I want to come to Athens and then return home very happy.”
Pittman takes Pechonkina again
With a world-leading 53.52, Australia’s Jana Pittman took the women’s 400m Hurdles. As she did in Rome on Friday, she got the better of World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina, who was relegated to second place with a time of 53.73, though the margin of Pittman's victory was not as marked on this occasion.
The young Australian won the sprint off the last hurdle, where she was neck-to-neck with the Russian and Greece’s Fani Halkia. A confident Pittman declared afterwards: “I am very happy. Everything went fine as I have expected, even though it was a little windy. Now I am waiting to return in Greece after one month to fulfill the reason I was born for.”
Rawlinson makes up for Rome
Great Britain’s Chris Rawlinson totally dominated the men’s 400 metre hurdles. Leading from the gun the Briton crossed the line metres clear of second-placed Naman Keita (FRA) and Russia’s Boris Gorban in a personal season’s best of 48.19 to the Frenchman’s 49.03.
The result was some consolation to Rawlinson after his performance in Rome: “On Friday I was third in Rome and I felt disappointed. I wanted a good performance today to come back again among the top athletes of my event. I believe that I did it. It is an amazing stadium with an amazing audience. Here I run like I was at home because I am an athlete of Panellinios A.C. (ed. The Athens Athletics club run by IAAF Council Member Minos Kyriakou). Now I will do one more race in England and I set an appointment with you for the Olympic Games in Athens.
Belarus’ Yuliyia Nesterenko confirmed her form in the women’s 100 metres, with a win in 11.06 seconds ahead of St. Vincent and Grenadines Natasha Mayers (11.28), with the pair relegating to third place Ukraine’s Zhanna Block (11.29)
Earlier Redelan Dos Santos (BRA) had won the men’s high hurdles in 13.33, beating USA’s Duane Ross (13.37) to the line.
In the throwing events, Germany’s Franka Dietzsch snatched victory in the women’s discus throw with a fifth round effort of 64.80 bettering the second and best attempt of Czech Republic’s Vera Pospisilova of 64.46 metres. USA’s Aretha Hill took third place with her fifth round throw of 64.02.
67.99 for Menendez
The women’s Javelin Throw was won by Cuba’s Osleidys Menendez with the second best mark of the year from her second round. She hurled her spear 67.99 metres to outclass Czech Republic’s Nico Tomeckova-Brejckova, whose best throw of 64.85 came at her third attempt.
After a 10.07 victory in his first heat, Nigeria’s Deji Aliu won the men’s 100 metres final 1n 10.21, running into a 0.50 m/s headwind and winning the dip for the line from Ghana’s Aziz Zakary (10.24). Vicente De Lima of Brazil was third with 10.28 seconds, given the benefit in a photo finish with Great Britain’s Jason Gardener, credited with the same time.
Holm dominates with 2.33
Stefan Holm achieved his best performance so far this season to win the men’s High Jump. The Swede cleared 2.33 metres at his second attempt after a virtually clear round to that point, with just one failure at 2.27 metres. He went on to make two failed tries at 2.35 before unsuccessfully attempting 2.37 for his final effort. Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Baba fell by the wayside at 2.30, taking second on countback from his compatriot Tomas Janku and Russia’s Yaroslav Vasilache who cleared the same height.
Borzakovskiy - 1:43.92
In other events, Yuriy Borzakovskiy won the 800 metres in 1:43.92, a meeting record and the second fastest time this year, some little compensation for his third place in Rome on Friday, where Wilson Kipketer returned to set the fastest time of this season, and just enough to hold off William Yiampoi in the sprint for the line, when it had looked as though the Kenyan would pip Borzakovskiy at the post. Michael Rotich took third place in 1:44.08.
The men’s Long Jump competition went to Joan Lino Martinez from Cuba, with a fourth round leap of 8.25 bettering Vitaliy Shkurlatov’s best attempt of 8.21. Yann Domenech of France was third with 8.07, a distance he jumped at both his fourth and sixth attempts.
Kederis provides suitable finale
To close the meeting with some Greek flair, Kostadinos Kederis won the final event of the evening, the 200 metres, in a head to head with Mauritius’ Stephane Buckland. Buckland just trailed Kederis at the dip, timing 20.28 to the Greek’s 20.24, a season’s best for the reigning Olympic champion. Bahamian Dominic Desmeritte was third in 20.63.
“I am happy to make better my performance for this year,” said Kederis. “20.24 may mean a lot but also it may mean nothing. I have in front of me 45 days of hard preparation and the last stage of training is always the hardest.
“When I run, I want to have fun and that is what I did today. The first hundred metres I felt some pressure, then nothing.”
IAAF New Media Manager