Updated August 20 2007
Sonia BISSET Poll, Cuba (Javelin Throw)
Born 1 April 1971, Bayamo 1.71m / 69kg
Manager: Javier Sotomayor/Jesus Molina Coach: Miguel Bernal
Born in Bayamo, but raised in the neighbouring province of Santiago de Cuba, Sonia Bisset followed an unusual way into competitive athletics as she did not attend sports schools in her teenage years. Bisset made it into the national team late, in the early 1990s, and has become a consistent thrower over 60 metres since reaching that barrier for the first time in 1994.
Bisset achieved her early successes when she won the Central American and Caribbean Championship in 1995 and the Ibero-American Championship in Medellin, Colombia, in 1996. In 1997, she made a massive progress with 68.24, her best mark with the old model. That led her to a silver medal at the World University Games, in Sicily, and sixth place in her World Championships debut, in Athens.
She has remained consistently among the world elite with a series of good results. Bisset was runner-up at the 1998 World Cup, in Johannesburg and fifth on her Olympic debut, at Sydney 2000. The season was crowned by a 65.87 last throw to win the 2000 IAAF Grand Prix Final, in Doha, ahead of Norway´s Olympic champion, Trine Hattestad, and her countrywoman, Osleidys Menendez.
One year later, Bisset achieved her only World Championships medal so far when placing third in Edmonton. Bisset’s successful career has been overshadowed in Cuba by Menendez, the reigning World and Olympic champion and world record holder. She has usually accompanied her younger teammate in every major championship, but the latter has always finished on top.
After finishing sixth in the 2003 World Championships, in Paris, and fifth in the 2004 Athens Olympics, in 2005 Bisset threw her PB (67.67) in Spain at the age 34. This season, she has achieved 65.97 and took a second Central American and Caribbean title in Cartagena eight years after winning in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
In 2006, Bisset regained her crown at the Central American and Caribbean Games in Cartagena,finished fourth at the World Athletics Final, in Stuttgart, and was second in the World Cup in Athletics, in Athens. With five consecutive World Championships and two Olympic finals to her name, she ranks fourth on the all-time list with her 67.67. Only Menéndez (71.70), Germany´s Christina Obergföll (70.03), and Hattestad (69.48) have thrown further.
The experienced thrower continued a consistent career this season with the Pan American Games silver. With a 64.65 release in Athens, which ranks her fifth in the 2007 world lists, she is ready in Osaka to make it to her sixth consecutive World Championships final. With Menendez missing to recharge for the 2008 Olympics, Bisset is the island’s sole female representative in the event.
At 36, Bisset is the oldest member of the Cuban athletics team and is close to retirement as she wants to start a family after the 2008 Olympics. However, she hopes to remain involved in the sport one way or the other.
1995 1st Central American and Caribbean Championships
1996 1st Ibero-American Championships
1997 2nd World University Games
1997 6th World Championships
1998 1st Central American and Caribbean Games
1998 2nd World Cup in Athletics
1999 6th World Championships
2000 5th Olympic Games
2000 1st Grand Prix Final
2001 3rd World Championships
2003 6th World Championships
2004 5th Olympic Games
2005 7th World Championships
2005 3rd World Athletics Final
2006 1st Central American and Caribbean Games
2006 4th World Athletics Final
2006 2nd World Cup in Athletics
2007 2nd Pan American Games
Javelin Throw: 67.67 (2005)
1987-50.40; 1988-58.28; 1989-55.94; 1990-55.30; 1991-57.64; 1992-58.38; 1993-59.52; 1994-61.42; 1995-62.52; 1996-64.54; 1997-68.24; 1998-67.59; new model: 1999-63.52; 2000-65.87; 2001-66.54; 2002-65.52; 2003-60.75; 2004-65.93; 2005-67.67; 2006-65.97; 2007- 64.65
Prepared by Javier Clavelo for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. © IAAF 2007.