Italian high jumper Silvano Chesani was in the spotlight at the 43th edition of the Italian Indoor Championships held at the Banca Marche Palas in Ancona over the weekend, the traditional home of Italian Indoor athletics.
Chesani qualified for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul with a clearance of 2.31m which now ranks him second in the Italian all-time Indoor list together with the twin brothers Nicola and Giulio Ciotti one centimetre behind Alessandro Talotti’s 2.32 national indoor record set in Glasgow in 2005.
Chesani scored a perfect sheet until 2.22m before failing his first attempt at 2.26m. He then needed three attempts to clear 2.29m. Marco Fassinotti cleared 2.26m at the first time of asking but failed three attempts at 2.29m. The national title went to Chesani who doubled the national title won last summer in Turin. The bar was raised at 2.31m which Chesani cleared without any hesitation in his first attempt.
“It has not sunk in yet,” said a delighted Chesani. “It was a long competition but this will help me to grow. I trained in San Diego with Antonietta Di Martino but we had some problems with the weather there. I aim for the final in Istanbul. Italy has now a new generation of high jumpers and I am part of the new group of jumpers which includes Marco Fassinotti and European Junior bronze medallist Gianmarco Tamberi,” said Chesani.
Donato takes Long Jump title
European Indoor triple jump silver medallist Fabrizio Donato competed in the Long Jump instead of his parade discipline and took his second Italian title in a row with 7.95m in his second attempt after opening the competition with a foul. Donato, who leapt to a sensational Italian triple jump record of 17.73m to take the European silver medal in Paris Bercy last year, produced two fouls and passed his fifth attempt before leaping to 7.90m in the final attempt.
“I am in good shape. After jumping 7.92 very easily in the qualifying round held in the morning, I hoped to jump further. My 17.24 winning jump in Liévin on 14th February gave me a good feeling. I am going to Istanbul to fight for the podium”, said Donato.
In the absence of Donato, the men’s Triple Jump final was surprisingly won by 2010 World Junior finalist Andrea Chiari who leapt to 16.85m (the second best under 23 performance in history in Italy) and beat reigning Italian champion Fabrizio Schembri who jumped 16.71m.
European Indoor champion Simona La Mantia, who suffered from some injury problems on her tendon, leapt to a winning 14.05m in the last attempt.
Michael Tumi notched up the men’s 60m title for the second consecutive year in 6.64 which improves his PB by 0.03. Tumi, who clocked 6.67 earlier this season, will compete in Istanbul together with Simone Collio who finished runner-up in 6.69.
Italian walking star Giorgio Rubino, fourth at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin in the 20 km race, made a good test over the 5km distance clocking 19:22.80. “Time did not matter too much. It was just a test. Training with Chinese athletes in Saluzzo is going well. I will compete in Taicang (China) on 30 March and at the IAAF World Cup in Saransk on 12-13 May,” said Rubino.
Cusma takes 800/1500m double
Elisa Cusma ran a gun-to-tape race to take the women’s 1500m in 4:17.17. Cusma is returning to her best form after a difficult 2011 ruined by a series of injury problems and qualified for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul thanks to her 2:01:53 in Liévin which she backed up with a 2:01:99 in Birmingham. On day two held on Sunday the 2009 European Indoor bronze medallist won unchallenged over her parade discipline in 2:04.96.
Maria Enrica Spacca, who already booked her berth for Istanbul, produced a major surprise to win the women’s 400m in 53.00, the fifth fastest time in history in Italy, to beat Italian outdoor champion, European finalist and World Championships semifinalist Marta Milani who had to settle with second place in 53.83. Lorenzo Valentini won the men’s 400m for the second year in a row with 46.88 and qualified for Istanbul.
Merihun Crespi, and Ethiopian-born runner who runs for Italy, took a very narrow win over Moroccan-born Abdellah Haidane in a dramatic race which came down to the wire. Haidane rose his arms too early and was dipped by Crespi clocking 3:44.79, the same time clocked by Haidane. Both middle distance runners are coached by Giorgio Rondelli, who trained past Italian stars Alberto Cova and Francesco Panetta. Haidane bounced back during the second day by taking the men’s 3000m in 8:11.71.
The women’s 60m Hurdles final was full of drama after favourite Marzia Caravelli made a false start in the final. However, Italian 100m Hurdles and 200m champion Caravelli, who dipped eight times under the qualifying standard for the World Indoor Championships this season with a best time of 8.06 (third fastest performance in history in Italy) was allowed to start the race “sub-Judice” which she finished in first place in 8.04 but she was disqualified due to the false start. The Italian title went to Veronica Borsi who set her PB with 8.18 which qualifies her for Istanbul.
Audrey Alloh, a sprinter born in Ivory Coast who lives in Florence, who had already secured her berth in the Italian team for Istanbul thanks to her PB of 7.33, edged out Jessica Paoletta in the women’s 60m final in 7.39.
Paolo Dal Molin clinched the 60m hurdles Italian title with 7.75 missing his fresh PB by 0.05. Thanks to his 7.70 in Ghent last week, Dal Molin has qualified for Istanbul. Fresh Italian 60m Hurdles record holder Emanuele Abate who set a new National record in Magglingen clocking 7.57 and then backed up this time with 7.59 in Karlsruhe, did not take part in the Championships.
Italian Pole Vault rising star Claudio Stecchi, IAAF World Junior silver medallist in Moncton 2010, cleared 5.60m in his third attempt to set a new lifetime best. Stecchi, son of former Italian Pole Vault record holder Gianni Stecchi, ranks now second in the all-time Italian Under 23 list behind Giuseppe Gibilisco’s 5.62m. Stecchi is coached by Riccardo Calcini with the supervision of Vitaliy Petrov.
Italian Pole Vault record holder Anna Giordano Bruno vaulted at 4.30m at the third attempt to beat former gymnast Giorgia Benecchi who led until after producing a clean sheet until this height.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF