Lashinda Demus (USA) at the Athens Olympics (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Belem, Brazil

Demus shines in Belem

American Lashinda Demus recorded the best performance of the 21st Edition of the “Grande Prêmio Brasil Caixa de Atletismo” - IAAF Grand Prix - held this Sunday, 22 May at the “Estádio Mangueirão”, in Belém, State of Pará, in front of a 35,030 crowd.

400m Hurdles - World season lead

Demus, 22, who is currently 10th in her event in the IAAF World Rankings took the victory in the women’s 400m Hurdles in a world season’s leading time of 53.56, leaving behind compatriot Sandra Glover, who had the previous best time of the year. Glover, who is World Ranked second, was runner-up in 54.09, just 8/100 over her season’s best, and Brazilian Lucimar Teodoro, in third in 56.34. Demus seemed always in control, motivated, and eager to compete against a rival of her calibre, after two easy victories in Rio and Fortaleza.

Demus closed a great week in Brazil. On 15 May, she won the IAAF GP II in Rio de Janeiro in 54.60. Then she took the victory in Fortaleza on 18 May in 54.36, and finally produced her Belém triumph with the excellent time of 53.56.

Smith and Adams-Vili extend winning streaks

Only four field events were held in the meeting, but in spite of the small quantity, Belém gave plenty of quality.

Jamaican Trecia-Kaye Smith won the women’s Triple Jump with an excellent result of 14.81m (1.7m/s). Two jumps were enough for the 29-year-old who opened with 14.63m (1.7) and then followed with a second effort of 14.81. After that, the Jamaican called it a day, and passed her remaining attempts. Her compatriot Suzette Lee was second with 14.08m (-0.3).

New Zealander Valerie Adams-Vili reconfirmed her wonderful form by taking another victory in the women’s Shot Put over Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumbá of Cuba, and showing consistency over 19 metres.

The 21 year-old captured first place with a put of 19.41m, 11 centimetres short of her world season’s lead and national record, achieved last Sunday (15 May) in Rio. The mark is Adams-Vili’s second best of her lifetime.

Cumbá recorded her own season’s best of 19.06m, to reaffirm her own progression, but still couldn’t match Adams-Vili, who had 2 throws over 19 metres -19.41m in her second attempt and 19.15m in her fourth.

Gregório jumps not so far, but still wins

The best Brazilian athlete of the moment, Jadel Gregório, delivered another victory in the men’s Triple Jump. His winning performance – 17.40m (-0.3) – and the margin of victory were his shortest of the week, after jumping 17.58m in Rio and 17.46m in Fortaleza.

American Walter Davis, the best in the world last winter with 17.62m, was second, recording his best outdoor competition of the year, capped by a 17.29m (-0.8) sixth jump, after jumping 17.01m on his second attempt. France’s Julien Kapek finished in third place with a good effort of 16.74m (-0.6).

Gregório achieved his winning mark on his first attempt, and after that, passed twice, fouled twice, and recorded a poor result of 16.10m with his fifth. Later he admitted that he had had “an important week, a bit stressing, but now I’m grateful that I was able to maintain all my performances over 17.40m.”

In the men’s Pole Vault, American Brad Walker took the win with his best result of the season, 5.80m, and a great margin over his compatriot Jeff Hartwig, who only vaulted to 5.40m.

Jamaicans continue to succeed

Thirty-three year-old Mardrea Hyman, a former 1500m specialist who converted to the 3000m Steeplechase this season, won in Belém in 9:46.97, her second personal best of the week. Hyman clearly defeated another Jamaican, CAC record holder Korine Hinds, who ran 9:54.99, while Portuguese Anália Rosa was third in 10:11.19.

At the 100m Hurdles, Lacena Golding-Clarke produced a quality time of 12.75 (1.1m/s), to win ahead of Haitian Nadine Faustin, who recorded a season’s best of 12.85, and Poland's Aurelia Trywianska, who also set a year’s best of 12.93.

Impressive season’s debut for Amertil at 400m

Bahamian Christine Amertil, IAAF World Ranked fifth, had a spectacular debut at the 400m in Belém, and in an excellent race which she won in 50.65, the second best performance in the world of the year so far.

The 25-year-old, seventh in the Olympic final in Athens, has a personal best of 50.17, and in her lifetime has only run six times better than today.

Guyana’s Aliann Pompey and Ireland’s Karen Shinkins produced season’s bests of 51.43 and 51.59 respectively.

National record for Canadian Christopher

The men’s 400m was an exhibition of season’s bests – 7 of the 8 runners set their 2005 bests in Belém – capped by a Canadian national record of 44.72 by Tyler Christopher. The 21-year-old erased the 44.86, two year-old, previous record of Shane Niemi, after coming off from running 44.88 in Rio de Janeiro.

Jamaican Davian Clarke improved to 44.92 and was second, while American Leonard Byrd was third in 45.09.

Lewis and Hackley upset JJ Johnson

After two double victories at 100m and 200m in Rio and Fortaleza, American JJ Johnson was looking for a triple, but in Belém he was clearly surprised by the form of his compatriots Brian Lewis and Jimmie Hackley.

Lewis, yet far from his personal best of 9.99 set in 2002, took the victory in the 100m with 10.22/0.0, while 29 year-old Hackley won in a season’s best of 20.49/0.0.

JJ Johnson was evidently less ready than in Rio and Fortaleza, and finished third at the 100m – 10.28 – and sixth in the 200m – 20.84.

Redelen and Peçanha deliver Brazilian victories

South American record holder at 110m Hurdles, Redelen Melo dos Santos, had an almost perfect race, equalling his season’s best of 13.30 (0.5m/s), to win despite easing-up a bit in the final metres. He won ahead of a quality field containing two Olympic finalists, Redelen left behind compatriot Matheus Inocêncio (13.40), American Joel Brown (season’s best of 13.44), and Jamaican Maurice Wignall (season’s best of 13.50).

In the men’s 800 metres, 22-year-old Fabiano Peçanha, from Rio Grande do Sul, recorded the “A” Standard that enables him to participate at the World Championships of Helsinki. After closely following Tanzanian Samuel Mwera during the first lap, Peçanha pressed at the 500m mark, but was only able to assure the victory in his final strides with 1:45.40 in a close fought battle. Mwera was second in 1:45.52, in a photo-finish final, while Osmar dos Santos was third with 1:45.62, and Canadian Ashraf Tadili was fourth with 1:45.65.

Good victories by Mothersill, Chirchir and Burnett

Cayman’s Cydonie Mothersille produced her season’s best at 200m, with a winning time of 22.72 (0.0m/s), the third best on the 2005 lists. Brazilian Lucimar de Moura was second in 22.86, and also guaranteed her ticket for Helsinki.

Kenya’s William Chirchir won a competitive men’s 1500m in 3:39.30 ahead of compatriot Benson Esho (3:40.11), while Guyana’s Marian Burnett took the women’s 800m in 2:01.76.

Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF