Yesterday the EA meeting in Padua, the Meeting Atletica Mondiale Città di Padova Trofeo Banca Antonveneta, celebrated its 22nd edition, it has been a fixture which has served as a springboard for athletes like Asafa Powell, Yelena Isinbayeva and Dayron Robles.
This year the northern Italian meeting attracted a number of Olympic medallists from the Beijing Games, such as Natalia and Andrei Mikhnevich in the Shot Put, Tatyana Lebedeva in the Triple Jump and relay sprinters Michael Frater and Yevgeniya Polyakova.
Discus on the eve of the meeting
Lithuanian discus throwing legend Virgilijus Alekna, twice Olympic champion (2000 and 2004) and bronze medallist in Bejing, opened the meeting in great style winning with a best throw of 68.02 in a competition held on Saturday (30) in the old athletics stadium Colbacchini on the eve of the main programme. The complete series of Alekna was: 66.72-66.38- 66.57 – 66.77 – 66.43 – 68.02.
Lebedeva is surprised by Udmurtova
The main programme of a very entertaining meeting was held on Sunday night (31) in Stadio Euganeo in front of a very enthusiastic audience.
The women’s Triple Jump with five Olympic finalists from Beijing was in the spotlight. It was a competition with many surprises which produced a major upset. Oksana Udmurtova, sixth at the Olympic Games in Bejing in the Long Jump, defeated Olympic Triple Jump silver medallist and World Long Jump champion Tatyana Lebedeva in the last round.
Udmurtova went to the lead with a wind-assisted 14.71 on her second attempt. Lebedeva started with 14.27 and improved with a wind-assisted 14.62 in the second attempt. Anna Pyatykh leapt to 14.62 in the third round and then took the lead with a 14.74 in her last attempt. The competition fired up when Lebedeva took the lead briefly in the sixth round with 14.77, and just a few minutes later Udmurtova managed to regain the lead overhauling the former Golden League Jackpot winner by jumping 14.85 a new meeting record in what was the final jump of the evening.
“The crowd were warm,” said Lebedeva. “The Italian people were very hospitable. After the Olympic Games I felt emotionally drained because we celebrated a lot. The season is far from over. I have still a lot of competitions. I will jump in Lausanne in the Long Jump on Tuesday, in the Moscow Challenge where I face Maureen Maggi in the Long Jump and in Rovereto in the Triple Jump. I hope to receive a wild card to compete in the Triple Jump in the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart. The problem this year was to find good triple jumping in the World Athletics Tour,” said Lebedeva.
De Lima sets Brazilian High Jump record
The other top result of the meeting was provided by Brazilian Jesse De Lima, Olympic finalist in Beijing, who cleared a winning 2.31m in the High Jump on his first attempt at that height to set a new national and a Padua meeting record. De Lima, who had a previous PB of 2.30 set this year, failed three attempts at 2.34.
“I am happy with the win but I expected to jump higher. I hoped to jump 2.34 because I feel I could get a medal in Bejing. I hope to jump next time”, said De Lima.
Solid shot putting
Andrei Mikhnevich from Belarus, 2003 World champion and Olympic bronze medallist in Beijing, produced a best release with a shot of 20.43 in a good-quality men’s Shot Put beating olympic fourth placer Dylan Armstrong from Canada (19.75) and central-american record holder Dorian Scott from Jamaica (19.73).
Miknevich’s wife Natalia Mikhnevich, Olympic silver medallist in Beijing, came close to the 20 metres barrier with a winning 19.86 in a high-quality women’s Shot Put beating Olympic fourth placer Misleidis Gonzales from Cuba, second with 18.88 and Olympic and World finalist Chiara Rosa, who finished third in front of her local fans with 18.55.
A headwind affected most of the sprint events in the home straight.
The first race of the evening was the women’s 100 metres where US sprinter Melisa Barber, former World Indoor 60m champion, took a close win over Russian Beijing 4x100 relay gold medallist Yevgeniya Polyakova in 11.54 to 11.57 into a headwind of -1.1 m/s. Italian 200 metres champion Vincenza Calì finished third in 11.62.
Michael Frater, Olympic 4x100 relay gold medallist and 100m finalist, clinched an easy win in the men’s 100 metres in 10.28 into a 1.5 m/s headwind. Local favourite Jacques Riparelli, an Italian sprinter from Padua with a PB of 10.23, finished second with 10.41.
Another Jamaican winner was Danny McFarlane. The Olympic fourth placer in the men’s 400m Hurdles from Beijing took an unchallenged win at his specialist event in 49.36. The third Jamaican win went to Ainsley Waugh in 200 metres with 20.78 (headwind -0.3 m/s).
US hurdler Candice Davis, World Indoor silver medallist in the 60m Hurdles in Valencia, won the 100m Hurdles in 13.11 beating Poland’s Aurelia Triwianska (13.26) and italian Micol Cattaneo (13.34).
Italian 800m runner Elisa Cusma, Olympic semi-finalist in Beijing, held off Russian 1:56 runner Tatyana Andrianova in the final straight to win the women’s 800 metres in 2:02.33. Andrianova took the runner-up spot in 2:02.74 ahead of former World junior 400m Hurdles champion Ekaterina Kostevskaya.
“I am happy because I wanted to perform well in Italy. I dropped out in Zürich on Friday and I really wanted to make up for that race”, said Cusma.
US Lacy Janson cleared 4.3m2 on her first attempt to win the women’s Pole Vault.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF