Osleidys Menéndez at the 2006 Cuban Championships (Javier Clavelo Robinson) © Copyright
General News Havana, Cuba

Cubans give indication of top form at Barrientos Memorial

World and Olympic medallists Zulia Calatayud, Osleidys Menendez, Yipsi Moreno and Dayron Robles posted the most notable performances at the 56th Barrientos Memorial meet in Havana on Saturday and Sunday (3 / 4 June).

Calatayud opens with 2:01 at 800m

After two races at 1500m in March and May, 2005 World 800m champion Zulia Calatayud made her season debut at the 800m, posting a comfortable win in 2:01.92.

Her training partner and 400m winner Indira Terrero was scheduled to run as a pacemaker, but she started out too fast ahead of Calatayud, who reached the end of the first lap in 59 seconds. After 600m, covered in 1:30 minutes, Terrero was out and the World champion went on to win in 2:01.92, ahead of Yanelis Lara (2:04.41), Ana H. Peña (2:04.50-PB) and Yadira Bataille (2:04.62).

“I am not happy with my time and I did not hear my splits at the 600m mark. Otherwise, I would have sprinted faster to run under two minutes. I really wanted to post my first sub-two minute race in Cuba. I know I am in good shape and I look forward to starting my European campaign soon,” said Calatayud.

Menéndez 64.07, Moreno 73.48 and Cumbá 18.96

Six days after her second European win in Ostrava, World and Olympic silver medallist Yipsi Moreno released the Hammer to 73.48m to confirm her good form. The 2001 and 2003 World champion opened her series with 68.08 and then improved to 72.28 and 72.30. After two fouls, she ended with 73.48.

“I am not totally recovered from my trip to Europe, I mean the jetlag, but these marks clearly show that my training is going well. I have not done much intensity work due my ankle problems, but technique has improved a lot. I just want to do my best and the good performances will come. I am happy for Olga Kuzenkova because she will be a mother, not because she is out this season. I want to add the CAC title to my pedigree and stay on top at the World Cup in Athens”, said a happy Moreno.

Olympic bronze medallist Yunaika Crawford (69.25) and 19-year old 2005 Pan American junior champion Arasay Thondike (66.92) will accompany her on the European tour.

Menéndez continued undefeated with an easy 64.07m first effort win in the women’s Javelin Throw, followed by World and Olympic Sonia Bisset (61.19), Maria C. Alvarez (60.93) and 2005 World Youth Championships bronze medallist Yanet Cruz (54.20).
The 26-year old had three valid throws in the first three rounds: 64.07, 61.40 and 59.69.

“I have recovered from some injuries, I am returning to my usual rhythm and run-up. I will continue to improve in Europe and throw over 65m. I had a busy tour in Brazil and it was very fruitful a year before the Pan American Games in that country. I want to win the CAC gold, the only title missing in my pedigree, and renew my World Cup crown in Athens”, stated the World Javelin record holder.

The men’s Javelin Throw winner was Helsinki finalist Guillermo Martinez, again over 80 metres (82.83), ahead of Emeterio Gonzalez (77.40) and Isbel Luaces (76.16).

Following two wins in Germany, where she posted her second best effort ever (19.66), 2004 Olympic Shot Put champion Yumileidi Cumbá took her event with 18.96m.

“I am just back from Europe and I felt fatigue. I have to main aims this season: to finally reach the 20-meter mark and break the CAC Games record of 19.31 in Colombia”, confirmed Cumbá.

Olympic finalist Misleydis González (18.38) and Maylin Vargas (17.15) were second and third, respectively.

In the men’s Shot Put, Carlos Véliz took the national junior record to 20.32, a world leading junior mark in 2006.

“I was ready to improve my personal best of 19.84, but I was surprised when I put 20.32 in the fourth round. I want to thank my team-mates for their encouragement and advice. I want to represent my country internationally and come back home with medals”, said Véliz.

Dayron Robles sets PB of 13.32 in the Hurdles

Dayron Robles, the surprise World Indoor Championships silver medallist in Moscow, improved his personal best to 13.32 seconds in the 110m Hurdles, to easily beat Yoel Hernandez (14.01) and Anier Garcia (14.22).

“It was a fast race and it showed and we are ready for the European tour. I don’t want to set time goals this year, just run fast and stay healthy. I am happy for Anier and we will also do well in Europe. It is a great honour to train with Yoel and Anier. Racing with them is a bonus”, affirmed the 19-year old, Robles.

“I am personally happy with my comeback race. Injuries are already history, thanks to my physician and physiotherapist. I will come back to my usual level progressively. I look forward to competing more in Europe and improve in every race”, said García.

Daimí Pernía, the 1999 World champion, took the women’s 400m Hurdles in 57.57 seconds. “I am ready to run against faster women and improve to 54-55 seconds. The CAC Games is my main goal this year”, she stated.

Another notable performance came in the men’s 800m, won by Maury Castillo in 1:47.65. Second place-finisher Andy Gonzalez moved up to the no.3 spot in the world junior list with his 1:48.13 time. He was also second in the 1500m with 3:48.2, behind Castillo (3:44.5).

Jorge Valcárcel, the 2005 World Youth Championships silver medallist, improved his personal best to 20.95 to trail Michel Herrera (20.93) in the men’s 200m. Yunier Pérez was third in 20.96. Also on the track, Yeimer López ran a fine 45.24 to win in the men’s 400m.

Moya 2.26m and Savigne 14.45m

Savigne confirmed her fine form with a 14.45 win in the women’s Triple Jump. “I feel well, but I need to more top class competition. My motivation is not as high here. I will do both Long and Triple in Europe and at the CAC Games in Colombia. I want to focus on the Triple for the World Championships and Olympic Games”, said the 21-year old from Guantánamo.

Yoandri Betanzos was ready to Triple Jump around 17.50m, but had to be content with his closest win at home. He landed at 17.02 in the fourth and last round, the same result of Yoelbi Quesada and Alexis Copello. Betanzos´ second best jump of 16.91 gave him the men's event win. Recovered from injury, two-time World Championships finalist David Giralt returned with 16.94 in fourth.

“The competition was a bit tense and I did not jump as I wanted. It was not my day, but I will have more opportunities in Europe. Jadel Gregorio beat me three times in Brazil and I need to beat him in Europe to get the World Cup spot in the Americas team”, explained Betanzos.

Moya is around three kilograms heavier than his usual weight. He was satisfied with his 2.26 High Jump win. “2.26m was enough, but I wanted to try 2.30 and I had a good second attempt. I have gained weight and I need to work on my run-up, to take it from five to seven steps. I jumped 2.25m around the same time last year and I am sure that I will reach 2.30m and more in Europe”, stated Moya.

Ibrahim Camejo took the Long Jump in 7.93m, ahead of 2000 Olympic and nine-time World champion Ivan Pedroso (7.68), weakened by stomach problems.

In order to get used to some meetings in Europe, only four rounds were contested in the horizontal jumps.

A total of 14 World and Olympic senior medallists in the 2001-2006 period took part in the Barrientos Memorial, the oldest track and field meeting in the Caribbean, since 1946.

The results will help determine the Cuban team for the Central American and Caribbean Games, to be held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, July 15-30.

Athletes from Colombia and Mexico also attended the meetings. The only foreign medallists were Mexico’s Karina Perez and Edilberto Menendez, second and third in the 3000m steeplechase, and Paulino Rios (bronze in the men’s senior SP).

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

The 46th Barrientos Memorial winners:

100m Henry Vizcaíno 10.44 (0.1)
200m Michel Herrera 20.93 (0.3)
400m Yeimar Lopez 45.24
800m Maury Castillo 1:47.65
1500m Maury S. Castillo 3:44.5
5000m Mariela Gonzalez 16:38.92
3000m ST Osmani Calzado 8:47.4
110m H Dayron Robles 13.32 (0.0)
400m H Yaudel Poll 50.11
HJ Victor Moya 2.26
PV Gilberto Cabrera 4.60
LJ Ibrahim Camejo 7.93
TJ Yoandri Betanzos 17.02 (-1.2)
SP Alexis Paumier 18.47
SP J Carlos Véliz 20.32 NJR
DT Jorge Fernandez (J) 60.06
HT Ihosvany Suárez 70.00
JT Guillermo Martínez 82.83
Decathlon Carlos Patterson 6921
4x100m Cuba (Frias, Herrera, Reyes, Vizcaino)  39.37
4x400m Cuba (Perez, Garzon, Collazo, Lopez) 3:09.60

100m Virgen Benavides 11.58 (0.2)
200m Roxana Díaz 23.18 (0.4)
400m Indira Terrero 52.7
800m Zulia Calatayud 2:01.92
5000m Aguelmis Rojas 14:05.76
3000m ST Milena Pérez 10:39.18 CR
100m H Anay Tejeda 12.99 (0.0)
400m H Daimí Pernía 57.57
HJ Lesyanis Mayor 1.73
PV Yarisley Silva 4.00
LJ Yudelkis Fernández 6.35 (-0.8)
TJ Yargelis Savigne 14.45 (-0.3)
SP Yumileidi Cumbá 18.96
DT Yania Ferrales 61.64
HT Yipsi Moreno 73.48
JT Osleidys Menéndez 64.07
20km W Yarelis Sánchez 1:41:24 CR
4x100m Cuba (Benavides, Diaz, Tejeda, Jay) 44.44
4x400m Cuba (Terrero, Peña, Povea, Pernía) 3:39.34
CR- Championships Record
NJR- National Junior Record