Fábio Gomes da Silva vaulting in Fortaleza (Eduardo Biscayart) © Copyright
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Fast sprinting and high vaulting at Brazilian Athletics Tour

Bahamian Michael Mathieu and Brazilian Fábio Gomes da Silva produced the best results of the first two stages of the "2012 Brazilian Athletics Tour" in Belém and Fortaleza. Mathieu won the 200m in Belém (6 May) setting a national record of 20.16, while Gomes da Silva grabbed the victory at Pole Vault in Fortaleza (9 May) with a 5.70m leap.

Belém GP

In a typical morning of Belém (with temperatures and humidity around 38°C-75%), Mathieu produced the best performance of the day. The 27-year-old Bahamian (Olympic silver medallist at 4x400 in 2008) beat the best 200m Brazilian specialists and moved to the top-10 of the 2012 world lists. Running with a tailwind of 0.8 m/s, Mathieu clocked 20.16 ahead of 19 year-old Aldemir Gomes (20.48) and Diego Cavalcante (20.50).

Besides Mathieu’s mark, the best results of the day were in the infield. Brazilian Maurren Maggi, the 2008 Olympic Champion at Long Jump, began the season with a 6.62m (0.5 m/s) triumph. "I enjoyed the victory in front of such an enthusiastic crowd, but I was expecting a better result to commence such an important campaign", said the South American record-holder, who will turn 36 on 25 June.

Cuban Mabel Gay, coming from winning the bronze medal at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, took the victory at Triple Jump with a 14.40m leap (0.7 m/s). American Aretha Turmond surprised Cuban Yarelis Barrios in the Discus Throw. Thurman won with 61.41m, while Barrios, the 2011 World Championships bronze medallist, was only fourth with 60.13m.

Other event winners from Belém were: Emanuel Callander (TRI) 10.18, 100m; Foaud El Kaam (MAR) 3:40.16, 1500m; Sisay Korme (ETH) 8:32.35, 3000m Steeplechase; Fábio da Silva (BRA) 5.40m Pole Vault; the 2012 World Indoor Champion Mauro Vinícius da Silva (BRA) 7.95 Long Jump; Risto Mätas (EST) 75.49m Javelin; Rosângela Santos (BRA) 11.24, 100m; Tiffany Townsend (USA) 23.20, 200m; Rosibel García (COL) 2:04.38, 800m; Latosha Wallace (USA) 55.18, 400m Hurdles (third in the 2012 world lists); Ana Šimic (CRO) 1.88m, High Jump.

Fortaleza GP

Competing in a cooler night (temperature and humidity around 29°C-75%), Fortaleza offered some remarkable performances, led by the 5.70m Pole Vault victory of Fábio Gomes da Silva. The Brazilian, a finalist from the 2011 World Championships, was delighted with his effort. "I was finally able to vault well, leaping over 5.70 in my first attempt. Then I tried 5.83m, attempting to improve my South American record (5.80m), and also to move into first place of the world lists. I’m happy with the mark. It’s a good sign heading to London", explained the 28-year-old da Silva.

In the Discus Throw, Cuban Denia Caballero re-established her country’s prestige with a 63m victory over her more illustrious compatriot Yarelis Barrios (second with 61.62m). The 22-year-old Caballero, ninth in Daegu 2011, has already thrown a personal best of 65.60m this year (Havana, 9 March) and seems to be ready for a major breakthrough. The 28-year-old Barrios, a very reliable performer (silver medallist in Beijing 2008), continues to build up her form towards London in her second cycle of the season, after setting a 68.03m personal best set in Havana on 22 March.

The 200m sprints were also very strong events in Fortaleza. Canadian Jared Connaughton took the victory in the men’s race with a personal best of 20.30 (0.3 m/s), ahead of Brazilians Cavalcante (20.40 PB), Gomes (20.51) and Bruno de Barros (20.57), the latter a finalist at the distance in Daegu 2011.

American Charonda Williams won the women’s 200m in 22.89 (-0.1 m/s) ahead of compatriot Tiffany Townsend (23.11). The 25 year-old Williams has already ran 22.81 this season.

A couple of competitive middle distance races also produced good results. Moroccan Fouad El Kaam won the 1500m in a season’s best of 3:39.32, ahead of Brazilian Fabiano Peçanha (3:39.88 SB). Argentina’s Federico Bruno (born 18 June 1993) was fifth with 3:40.86 setting a new South American junior record, eclipsing the 15-year-old mark of Brazilian Hudson de Souza (3:42.79).

At the 3000m Steeplechase, Ethiopian Sisay Korme set a season’s best of 8:24.28 beating Kenyan Haron Langat (8:25.18) and Canadian Alexandre Genest (8:26.65), who also set their best times of 2012.

Victories in the other events of the evening went to: Michael Mathieu (BAH), 10.30, 100m; Mauro Vinícius da Silva (BRA), 7.94 Long Jump; Dayron Márquez (COL), 77.07m Javelin; Charonda Williams (USA), 11.23, 100m; Rosibel García (COL), 2:02.21, 800m; Latosha Wallace (USA), 55.55, 400m Hurdles; Ana Šimic (CRO), 1.84m High Jump; Dainelis Alcántara (CUB), 14.10 Triple Jump.

The "2012 Brazilian Athletics Tour", a series of Area Permit Meets, will continue in Uberlândia (13 May), São Paulo (16 May) and will end in Rio de Janeiro, on 20 May with the "28º Grande Prêmio Brasil Caixa de Atletismo", a IAAF World Challenge meeting.

Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF

RESULTS Belém

RESULTS Fortaleza