A jump of 15.20m by the World indoor and outdoor Triple Jump champion Yargelis Savigne, notable sprint events and throws by Virglijious Alekna and Krisztian Pars were the key highlights of the ”Vardinoyiannia 2008” meeting held today in Rethymno, Greece.
The Vardinoyiannia meeting is one of a select group of Area meetings at which points can be acquired by athletes to qualify for the IAAF / VTB Bank World Athletics Final, to be held on 13-14 September in Stuttgart, Germany.
Savigne extends season’s best to 15.20m
The chief protagonists of the Triple Jump at the Olympic Meeting held in Thessaloniki last week were again the stars of the event today in Rethymno, although the classification was different. This time it was Cuba’s Yargelis Savigne who took top honours as she extender her 2008 best to 15.20m.
From the beginning of the competition Savigne seemed to be in much better condition than Greek Chrysopigi Devetzi, the current world leader at 15.22m. Savigne reached 15.06m in the second round and improved her performance to 15.20m in the fourth to take the win.
Devetzi, who was trying to find her rhythm during much of the competition, managed a good jump of 14.75m in the second round, which proved to be enough for the runner-up spot. Ukraine’s Olha Saladukha was third with 14.73m leaving Slovenia’s Marija Sestjak fourth with 14.64.
Alekna throws 70.86m
Alekna, the reigning Olympic champion in the discus throw, prevailed in a battle with the reigning World Champion, Gerd Kanter of Estonia. The best throwers of recent years produced once again a competition of the highest level.
Alekna twice exceeded 70m, with his best effort reaching 70.86m, while Kanter followed with 68.73m. Olympic bronze medallist Aleksander Tammert placed third with 64.30m
Burns, Barber dominant in the 100m
Less than 24 hours after the Athens Grand Prix where she placed fourth, Me’Lisa Barber participated in Vardinoyiannia and managed to win a close 100m women’s race. In a blanket finish, Barber clocked 11.23, while Briton Emma Ania was second in 11.24, leaving American Carmelita Jeter third im 11.25
Jeter came back to win the 200m in 23.23, followed by Ania who clocked 23.43.
Trinidad’s Marc Burns was the fastest in the men’s race where he ran 10.03 to defeat the favourites of the event. Roland Pognon of France improved his season’s best to 10.13 to finish second ahead of American Marc Jelks (10.19).
American 400m champion LaShawn Merritt moved down in distance to dominate the 200 in 20.26, despite running against a 1.2 m/s win. Christian Brendan was well back in second, clocking 20.81.
Even without Merritt the Americans dominated the 400m. Angelo Taylor crossed the line in 45.02, followed by another Beijing-bound 400m hurdling compatriot Bershawn Jackson who clocked 45.47. Both set season’s best for the distance.
Williams clocks 54.79 in the 400m Hurdles
US champion Tiffany Williams won the 400m Hurdles handily in 54.79. Poland’s Anna Jensen was second in 55.43 and American Christine Spence third (56.56). World leader Lashinda Demus followed the very quick pace in the early stages but faded badly in the end to finish last in 58.35.
Greece’s Olympic champion Fani Chalkia did not in the end compete in the event, and the posibility of defending her Olympic title seems to be even more reduced now.
Pars continues Hammer Throw momentum
Hungary’s Krisztian Pars won the hammer throw with his second round 81.36m throw.Second on the world season’s list this year, Pars approached his season’s best to defeat Italy’s Nicola Vizzoni who threw 77.49m and Sydney’s Olympic champion Poland’s Szymon Ziolkowski of Poland who was third with 76.62m. Indeed, each of Pars’ four legal throws surpassed anything else the others could mustre.
The women’s 100m Hurdles proved to be an easy out race for Jamaica’s Delloreen Ennis-London. With 12.62 she was the clear winner, while American Nicole Denby and Candice Davis followed with 12.88 and 12.90 respectively.
Marina Aitova of Kazakhstan won the High Jump with 1.93m ahead of Uzbekistan’s Svetlanna Radzivil (1.91m). In the other vertical jump event of the meeting American Lacy Janson cleared 4.51m to win the Pole Vault, where Greece’s Olympic qualifier Afroditi Skafida was second with a 4.45m clearance.
Finally Russia’s Olga Komyagina clocked a season’s best 8.51.72 in the women’s 3000m – the fourth fastest performance of the year - while Kenyan Haron Keitany won the men’s 1500m in 3.38.84.
Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF