French long jumper Salim Sdiri has continued his good season with a solid jump to 8.29 to win the men’s Long Jump, one of the best events assembled at the Mediterranean Games in Pescara which closed yesterday (3).
The Frenchman had a tentative start to his competition with 7.84m and 7.80 and lagged in the ranking in the first four rounds. Greek Louis Tsatoumas had a solid competition with three jumps over 8 metres (8.18-8.20-8.15) and led until the fifth attempt.
Morocco’s Yahya Berrabah was also very consistent with three jumps over 8 metres in the first five rounds (8.01-7.99-7.92-8.17-8.20).
Sdiri clinched the win in the sixth round with 8.29, 13 cm off his fresh national record set this summer. Berrabah overtook Tsatoumas in the final attempt for second place leaping to 8.23.
Di Martino the victor despite problems
The momentum continued for a great Italian team who topped the athletics medal table of the 16th edition of the Mediterranean Games with a total of 29 medals (11 gold, 11 silver and 7 bronze). The final day was much awaited for by the fans of Italian athletics as it featured World silver medallist Antonietta Di Martino who returned to 2 metres form at the European Team Championships in Leiria.
Despite some physical problems the night before the competition Di Martino won her first Mediterranean Games title with 1.97m. Di Martino needed just two first-time clearances at 1.83 and 1.89 to take the gold medal very easily. The jumper from Cava dei Tirreni needed three attempts at 1.93 when she was already alone against the bar with a gold medal around her neck.
Di Martino cleared 1.97 at the second time of asking before one unsucessful attempt at 2.01.
“My approach to this competition was far from ideal. I could not sleep last night because I suffered from some physical problems. In these conditions I did not expect to clear 1.97. I feared to be forced to miss this competition but this morning I felt better. I did not want to miss this event on home soil. I am now planning three more competitions: Rome, Paris and Italian Champs in Milan,” said Di Martino.
Women athletes are now carrying the major hopes of Italian athletics as already shown by the brilliant third place in the women’s team ranking at the European Team Championships. This growth of women athletics in Italy was confirmed in Pescara.
Cusma takes the double
Elisa Cusma added another gold medal to the 800 metres won yesterday by taking the women’s 1500 in 4:11.88 in a tactical but hard-fought competition against Moroccan Eltissam Lakhouad, olympic finalist in Beijing over this distance. Cusma, who set her PB over this distance running in 4:08.72 at the European Team Championships in Leiria, showed a great improvement in her tactic skills with continuous changes of gear which enabled her to hold off Lakhouad in the final straight. The Moroccan finished second in 4:12.07.
“I expected two medals but not two gold medals. I will return next week to compete in Rome at the Golden Gala,” said Cusma.
Anis Selmouni from Morocco secured another gold medal in distance running taking the men’s 5000 metres in 13:55.98. Italian Stefano La Rosa finished runner-up in 14:04:44.
Spanish Shot Put veteran Manuel Martinez, 2003 World Indoor champion, had solid series with three puts over 20 metres and won with 20.30 m.
In the morning session of the fourth and last day of the Mediterranean Games Italian marathon runner Anna Incerti, winner of the Milan Marathon last November, won the Half Marathon in 72:25 beating compatriot Rosaria Console by nine seconds on a very hot day.
Incerti announced some weeks ago that she will skip the World Championships in Berlin in order to focus on speed work in preparation for a marathon next autumn.
The men’s half marathon gold medal went to Moroccan Ahmed Baday in 64:06 ahead of Spaniard José Manuel Martinez, second in 64:20.
As well as the Long Jump victory, France clinched two more gold medals on the final day of athletics competitions. Sebastian Maillard came out victorious in the men’s 400 metres Hurdles in 49.80sec. Melina Robert Michon took the win in the women’s Discus Throw with 61.17m, Vera Begic from Croatia finished runner-up with 60.29 m.
In the final running event of the four-day athletics programme the spanish 4x400 relay squad notched up the title in 3:06.50.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF