Mikele Barber after her win at the Pan-Am Games 100m (AFP / Getty Images) © Copyright
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Barber takes 100m title with 11.02 – Pan American Games, Day 3

American sprinter Mikele Barber produced the highlight of the third day of competitions of the XV Pan-American Games of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (24 July) by taking the women’s 100m in a championship record time of 11.02 (wind 0.8 m/s).

The 26-year-old, former student of the University of South Carolina, by running a very solid race bettered the old Games record which belonged to Evelyn Ashford since the 1979 edition held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After a 190/1000 reaction, due to a false start by Chandra Sturrup, Barber’s progression in the race was impressive and enabled her to set a personal best and move to the fifth spot of the 2007 world lists.

American Mechelle Lewis took second with 11.24, and with that the Americans completed the first 1-2 of these Games. Sturrup had a good start but then faded to third in 11.29.

Martina and Saladino give first gold medals to their nations

Tuesday proved to be a historical day at the Pan-Am Games for the Netherlands Antilles, and Panama, countries that won their first-ever athletics gold medals at the Games.

Twenty-three year-old sprinter Churandy Martina, from Willemstad, Curaçao, took the 100m final in 10.15 (wind 1.0).

Martina, who had equalled the Games record with his 10.06 from the semi-final, had a false start in the final, and then his reaction for the definitive race wasn’t the best. The UTEP freshmen had to come from behind to recuperate ground from veteran St Kitts & Nevis’ Kim Collins and American Darvis Patton. Martina only took the lead just before the tape.

Patton fell at the finish line and lost the race by just 2/100, while Brendan Christian from Antigua, who finished third in 10.26, gave his country the third athletics Games medal in its history.

Collins, the 2003 World champion, faded to fifth place in 10.31. The times were all affected by a slight rain that was falling on the night of Rio at the “Estádio João Havelange”.

While his victory was never in jeopardy, Panamanian Irving Saladino had to content himself with a winning mark of “only” 8.28m (-0.5m/s). His series was 6.66, 7.69, 8.13, foul, 6.74 and 8.28. Clearly, the rain was a negative factor for Saladino, just like last year at the CAC Games of Cartagena. In this case the bad weather impeded the Panamanian from going further after a promising 8.38 from the qualifying round.

Cuban Wilfredo Martínez took second with 7.92, while American Bashir Ramzy beat Iván Pedroso 7.90 to 7.86 on his last attempt. The great Cuban, winner of four World titles, one Olympic Games and three Pan-Am gold medals could be, at age 34, very close to the end of his illustrious career.

Two gold medals for Canada

In the other infield final of the night, Canada’s Dylan Armstrong took the Shot Put with 20.10m. American Christian Cantwell, who was initially announced in the US roster, didn’t compete, and that opened the door for Armstrong, who took the lead with his first put, 19.81, and then extended it with his second round 20.10.

Jamaican Dorian Scott came close with 20.06, 20.02 and 20.00, from rounds 2, 3 and five, but had to content himself with the silver, while Cuba’s Carlos Véliz set a pb of 19.75 to grab the bronze.

Twenty minutes before the beginning of the Shot final, Diane Cummins had given Canada its first gold medal of these athletics competitions by taking the 800m in 1:59.75, a season’s best.

US 800m champion Alysia Johnson set a fast pace of 57.97 for the first 400m, but at the 500m Cummins made her move. Yet it was an attack which was not totally decisive, though it gave the 33-year-old South African-born runner the tactical control of the race, while a somehow chaotic battle for positions was always behind her.

Johnson faded in the final 100m as did Guyana’s Marian Burnett, who were following Cummins. Colombian Rosibel García was able to get clear and took second place with 2:00.02, a season’s best, while Cuban Zulia Calatayud paid the price of almost no competitive races in 2007. After falling way back, the 2005 World Champion barely beat Burnett at the tape for the bronze medal: 2:00.34 (a season’s best) to 2:00.40.

Smith takes Combined Events title in a record

In the Decathlon, Jamaican Maurice Smith took the gold with 8278 points, a new Games record, while Cuban Yordani García was second with 8113 and Brazilian Carlos Eduardo Chinin was third with 7977.

Smith set a season’s best and consolidated his victory with a great 53.24 Discus Throw, a “Decathlon-Games-record”.

García improved his own CAC junior record and moved to the third spot of the all-time junior lists. Having a shot at the 8252 Cuban national record of Raúl Duany, 18 year-old García went with the early leaders of the 1500m and paid his price by fading to 4:51.74, ending completely exhausted.

The final event was won by Chinin with 4:23.99, and those 785 points moved him clear of American Ryan Harlan, who was third with a 79 pts margin over Chinin before the 1500m. The 22-year-old Brazilian set a personal best, and with his final mark moved to the third spot of the Decathlon’s South American all-time lists.

Canada hold the first-day lead in the Heptathlon

After the first 4 events of the Heptathlon, Canada’s Jessica Zelinka leads with a “Games-best-first-day” of 3786 points, ahead of the previous 3710 of American Jamie McNeir from Mar del Plata ’95.

The 25-year-old from London, Ontario, is also ahead of the 3777 pts registered in 2007 Hypo meet in Götzis, where she set her 6343 national record. Compared to that performance, she gave up 8cm in the High Jump, but gained points in the 100m Hurdles and Shot Put, which she won, and the 200m.

Cubans Gretchen Quintana and Yasmiany Pedroso are behind her with 3590 and 3514 points.

Looking ahead…

Day 4 promises to be a good one for Canada. Besides Zelinka’s chances in the Heptathlon, Angela Whyte and former 2003 World Champion Perdita Felicien looked great at the 100m Hurdles heats, running the fastest times with 12.68 and 12.69 to take heats 2 and 3, while Tyler Christopher, the 2005 World Championships bronze medallist at 400m, had the same feat in his semi-final with a 45.28 clock.

2003 World 400m champion Mexican Ana Gabriela Guevara also seems ready for another Wednesday final after an easy 51.10 victory in her 400m heat.

Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF


Results Day 3 (24 July)

Men

100m (1.0 m/s)
1 Churandy Martina AHO 10.15
2 Darvis Patton USA 10.17
3 Brendan Christian ANT 10.36
4 Jenris Vizcaíno CUB 10.31
5 Kim Collins SKN 10.31
6 J-Mee Samuels USA 10.33
7 Vicente de Lima BRA 10.37
8 Anson Henry CAN 10.38

LJ
1 Irving Saladino PAN 8.28/-0.5
2 Wilfredo Martínez CUB 7.92/0.1
3 Bashir Ramzy USA 7.90/0.6
4 Iván Pedroso CUB 7.86/0.0
5 Osborne Moxey BAH 7.81/0.1
6 Carlos Rafael DOM 7.63/0.1
7 Hugo Chila ECU 7.60/0.7
8 Allen Simms PUR 7.55/0.5

SP
1 Dylan Armstrong CAN 20.10
2 Dorian Scott JAM 20.06
3 Carlos Véliz CUB 19.75
4 Garrett Johnson USA 19.67
5 Germán Lauro ARG 19.49
6 Marco Antonio Verni CHI 18.54
7 Alexis Paumier CUB 18.47
8 Yojer Medina VEN 18.10

Decathlon
1 Maurice Smith JAM 8278 * [10.84/-0.8 7.27/0.8 16.93 1.97 47.99 (4370/1) 14.06/-0.2 53.24 4.40 50.23 4:40.12]
2 Yordani García CUB 8113 AR-j [10.67/-0.8 7.14/0.6 14.57 2.03 49.96 (4192/3) 14.01/-0.2 45.93 4.50 63.75 4:51.74]
3 Carlos Eduardo Chinin BRA 7977 [10.88/-0.8 7.76/0.5 13.44 2.09 48.36 (4361/2) 14.52/-0.3 37.01 4.30 51.95 4:23.99]
4 Leonel Suárez CUB 7936
5 Ryan Harlan USA 7687
6 Chris Boyles USA 7666
7 Ivan Scolfaro da Silva BRA 7665
8 Gonzalo Barroilhet CHI 7193

Women

100m (0.8)
1 Mikele Barber USA 11.02 *
2 Mechelle Lewis USA 11.24
3 Chandra Sturrup BAH 11.29
4 Tahesia Harrigan IVB 11.34
5 Sherry Fletcher GRN 11.36
6 Virgil Hodge SKN 11.40
7 Laverne Jones ISV 11.49
8 Tracy-Ann Rowe JAM 11.56

800m
1 Diane Cummins CAN 1:59.75
2 Rosibel García COL 2:00.02
3 Zulia Calatayud CUB 2:00.34
4 Marian Burnett GUY 2:00.40
5 Josiane Tito BRA 2:01.41
6 Alysia Johnson USA 2:02.57
7 Ysanne Williams JAM 2:03.18
8 Melissa de Leon TRI 2:03.63

Heptathlon - after Day 1
1 Jessica Zelinka CAN 3786 (13.26/-0.4 1.71 14.97 24.07/-0.4)
2 Gretchen Quintana CUB 3590 (13.83/-0.4 1.71 13.04 23.90/-0.4)
3 Yasmiany Pedroso CUB 3514 (13.88/-0.6 1.74 14.12 25.81/-0.5)
4 Virginia Johnson USA 3476
5 Juana Castillo DOM 3475
6 Lucimara da Silva BRA 3432
7 Yaritza Rivera PUR 3364
8 Elizete da Silva BRA 3287

* Games record