Leevan Sands of the Bahamas sets a national record to win Olympic triple jump bronze (Getty Images) © Copyright
Rondel Sorrillo, the 200m bronze medallist, former World and Olympic finalist Marc Burns, 2009 CAC Games 100m champion Emmanuel Callender and Keston Bledman combined their efforts to clock 38.24 seconds, half a second faster than the previous Games record, set by a Cuban quartet in 1986.
Jamaica followed in second (38.78) and double sprint champion Churandy Martina anchored the defending champions of the Netherland Antilles to bronze in 38.82.
Inspired by the crowd support, the Puerto Rican women produced their best performance ever as they set a new national record of 43.46 to take a surprising victory in the 4x100m relay.
Beatriz Cruz, Celiangeli Morales , Erika Rivera and Carol Rodriguez beat more experienced squads like Olympic finalists Colombia (43.63) and Jamaica (44.27).
Earlier on, Beverly Ramos faced off the challenge of her compatriot Rachael Marchand and Colombia’s 10,000m winner Yolanda Caballero to take the 5,000m in a new Games record time of 16:09.82.
Marchand (16:13.59) and Caballero (16:14.75) rounded out the podium spots, ahead of Mexico’s former CAC and Pan American Games champion Adriana Fernandez (16:28.65).
The first of the three gold medals for the host team on Thursday came in the men’s 3,000m Steeplechase as Alexander Greaux claimed his third consecutive crown after winning in El Salvador 2002 and Cartagena 2006.
He crossed the finish line in 8:56.47 and prevailed in a close battle over Mexico’s Josafat Gonzalez (8:57.98).
In the men’s Triple Jump, Randy Lewis landed at 17.20m in the opening round and was en route to win Grenada’s first athletics gold in the history of the Games. However, 2008 Olympic Leevan Sands had other plans and produced a last round effort of 17.21m to deny Lewis a historic victory.
Haiti’s Samyr Lainé leapt 17.01m in the last round to clinch bronze.
Colombia and Venezuela shared the wins in the 800m. Silver medallist four years ago, Rosibel Garcia prevailed in a slow final over Iberoamerican champion Andrea Ferris of Panama to complete her 800-1500m double. Garcia clocked 2:03.77, ahead of Ferris (2:04.16) and Guyana’s Marian Burnett (2:04.45).
Runner-up in the 1500m to three-time consecutive CAC Games champion Juan Luis Barrios, Eduard Villanueva was all smiles as he dominated the 800m in a close finish over Haiti’s Moise Joseph. They finished fifth and fourth in Cartagena 2006.
Villanueva held off the Haitian’s challenge and won in 1:47.73 followed by Joseph (1:47.79). Jamaica’s Aldwyn Sappleton (1:48.12) settled for bronze.
Horacio Nava, the 2010 World Cup silver medallist, confirmed Mexico’s dominance in race walking as he comfortably took the 50km title in 3:56:45.
Venezuela’s Maria Cubillan sealed a Venezuelan double as she took the Discus gold in 52.21m.
Jamaica’s Maurice Smith, the 2007 World Championships silver medallist, leads the Decathlon with 4,221 points, thanks mainly to his 10.82 in the 100m, 7.32m in the Long Jump and 15.76m in the Shot Put.
Puerto Rico’s Marcos Sanchez (3937) and Steven Marrero (3843) are trailing well behind in second and third.
The athletics tournament will end on Friday with seven finals: women’s Long Jump and 3,000m Steeplechase, the Men’s 5,000m, High Jump and the second day of the Decathlon, as well as both 4x400m relays.
The 21st CAC Games, held for the third time ever in Puerto Rico and the first since 1993, will be officially close on 1 Aug.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
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