Daniele Greco at the European Championships in Helsinki (Getty Images) © Copyright
Daniele Greco stole the show with a hugely impressive but wind-aided 17.67m (+3.4 m/s) which earned him the win over European champion Fabrizio Donato who leapt to a legal 17.52m. Fabrizio Schembri, winner of the Long Jump during the first day with 7.67m, finished third with a wind-assisted 17.23m (+2.5 m/s).
Schembri took the early lead with a windy 17.23m in the first attempt. Donato, who won his first European outdoor title in rainy Helsinki with a windy 17.63m, took the lead with 17.52m in the second round responding to Greco who jumped a legal 17.39m. Greco, fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul with 17.28m, leapt 17.67m but unfortunately was wind-assisted. Donato backed his superb series with a wind-assisted 17.50m (+2.6 m/s) in the fourth round and a legal 17.45m in the final attempt to cap a superb series of jumps. Greco called it a day due to cramps in his calf.
"I felt a cramp strain but I managed to keep it under control. This is a problem I need to solve. I admit that there was too much wind which aided my performance today," said Greco.
"I have received a lot of attention from a lot of people since my European title in Helsinki. I really wanted to honour my European title and win another Italian title. I lost the competition but I was very consistent. I have never produced such a series of jumps during my career," said Donato.
Tamberi improves to 2.31m
Twenty-year-old Gianmarco Tamberi, third at the European Juniors in Tallin last year with 2.25m and fifth at the European Championships in Helsinki last week, set the A qualifying standard in the men’s High Jump with an impressive 2.31m. Tamberi produced a clean sheet clearing all heights until 2.28m at the first attempt before booking his berth for the Olympic Games in London at 2.31m with his third attempt. Then Tamberi, an outgoing athlete who loves music, took a final attempt at the World record height of 2.46m for joke.
Gianmarco grew up in a sports family as his father Marco was a former Italian high jumper and his brother Gianluca finished fourth at the 2009 European Junior Championships in the javelin. Tamberi belongs to the new generation of Italian jumpers together with Silvano Chesani and Marco Fassinotti.
"I came here to qualify for London," Tamberi said. "I felt pain in my hamstring during the warm-up. I broke the family’s record as my father jumped a PB of 2.28. The jump at 2.25 was very high over the bar but what mattered today was to clear 2.31 and qualify for London. I received the invitation to compete at the London Diamond League but I have to be careful one month before the Olympic Games."
Bencosme books London ticket
José Reynaldo Bencosme, an Italian 400m hurdler whose family hails from Dominican Republic, set the A qualifying standard to win in 49.33. With this result he bounced back from the disappointment at the European Championships where he was disqualified in the heats due to a lane infringement. The green track of the Raiffeisen Arena inspired Bencosme once again who won the World youth bronze medal in this venue in 2009. Bencosme was born in Conception de la Vega in Dominican Republic in 1992 but moved to Piedmont with his mother in 2004 and lives in Borgo San Dalmazio near Cuneo.
"I was nervous before the start because I felt the pressure. I wanted to qualify for the Olympic Games," said Bencosme.
Andrew Howe made his return last week in Aosta clocking 20.85 one year after undergoing surgery on his Achilles tendon and tried to take a last-minute chance to get the qualifying standard for the Olympic Games in London. Howe needed 20.65 to book his berth for London as he ran the A standard when he won the Golden Gala in 2011 with 20.31. Unfortunately he had to fight against a very strong headwind in the heats and the final. He won the heats in 21.03 against a headwind of -4.5 m/s. Wind calmed down a bit in the final but 200m sprinters ran into a wind of -1.9 m/s which vanished any hopes of qualifying for the Olympic Games. However Howe managed to win in 20.76 ahead of this year’s European Championships finalist Diego Marani (20.92) and European Under 23 4x100 gold medallist Davide Manenti (20.94).
"I am happy to be back on the track. Seven months ago I was walking on crutches. There is still a lot of work to do. Without the strong headwind I could run 20.50. I am available to help the 4x100 relay at the Olympic Games in London if they need me," said Howe.
Libania Grenot, European finalist in the 400m in Barcelona 2010 and Helsinki 2012, cruised to an easy 22.91 to win the women’s 200m despite a headwind of -1.1 m/s. The Cuban-born sprinter, who clocked a wind-assisted 22.45 in Clermont, improved her PB by 0.02. Her training with Loren Seagreave in Miami where she chose to move last winter together with Italian sprinters Claudio Licciardello and Matteo Galvan, is paying off over the shorter distance. Twenty-year-old Gloria Hooper, who qualified for the Olympic Games last week at the European Championships where she improved her PB from 23.21 to 22.95, finished runner-up in 23.37.
Licciardello, former European Indoor silver medallist, took the men’s 400m title in 46.16.
Chiara Rosa, European bronze medallist in Helsinki, produced only one throw over the 18 metres barrier but it was enough to take the National title in the women’s Shot Put.
Silvia Salis bounced back from her unsuccessful European Championships where she produced three fouls in the qualifying round. In Bressanone she threw beyond the 70 metres barrier in the fourth round with 70.18m.
Lorenzo Povegliano produced a major surprise by winning the Hammer Throw title ahead of 24-time Italian champion Nicola Vizzoni thanks to a best throw of 76.29m in the first round which he backed up with two more throws over 76 metres (76.00m and 76.28m). Povegliano, last year’s World University Games bronze medallist in Shenzhen, set the qualifying standard for London with 79.08m last May. Nicola Vizzoni, European silver medallist in Barcelona 2010 and fifth last week in Helsinki, had to settle with second place with 74.08m.
Simona La Mantia, European Indoor champion and fourth in Helsinki last week, leapt to a wind-assisted 14.24m (+3.7 m/s) to win the women’s Triple Jump. "I wanted to win this title in Bressanone as my mother Monica Mutschlechner hails from Sud Tyrol and I am at home here," said La Mantia.
Claudio Michel Steccchi set his new PB to win the men’s Pole Vault with 5.60m one week after finishing eighth in the European Championships. Stecchi, the son of former Italian record holder Gianni Stecchi, won the World junior silver medal in Moncton two years ago and is the new name of Italian Pole Vault. He is advised by Pole Vault guru Vitaliy Petrov who guided Anna Giordano Bruno who took the women’s title with 4.35m before failing three attempts at 4.40m.
A false start by Roberto Donati and a strong headwind of -2.2 m/s affected the men’s 100m where 2009 European Indoor silver medallist Fabio Cerutti won his national outdoor title in 10.43 ahead of European finalist Simone Collio and Jacques Riparelli who finished second and third with the same time of 10.48. Riparelli clocked a much faster 10.27 in the heats. It was a decisive race to determine the names of the sprinters who will represent the Italian 4x100 team at the Olympic Games.
The women’s 100m Hurdles is one of the best events in Italian athletics at the moment, as four hurdlers set the qualifying standard for the European Championships during the first part of the season. Marzia Caravelli and Micol Cattaneo ran the European final finishing sixth and eighth respectively. In Bressanone Caravelli won her second national title in 13.15 with a headwind of -1.7 m/s ahead of Cattaneo.
Paolo Dal Molin, a semifinalist in Helsinki, took the men’s 110m Hurdles in 13.74 in the absence of Italian record holder Emanuele Abate who pulled out injured after the heats.
Manuela Gentili dipped under 56 seconds for the second time this year to win the women’s 400m Hurdles in 55.87 (this year she clocked 55.58 in Geneva in June).
Audrey Alloh, an Italian sprinter who was born in Ivory Coast but moved to Florence at the age of five, took the women’s 100m title in 11.48, missing her PB by just 0.05.
Local favourite Christian Obrist won a very tactical 1500m in 3:48.16 on the track where he trains everyday. Elisa Cusma took the women’s 1500m in 4:18.03 and dedicated her national title to the victims of the earthquake which struck her region Emilia Romagna.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF