Justin Gatlin wins the Padua 100m (Lorenzo Sampaolo) © Copyright
General News Padua, Italy

Gatlin takes 100m victory in chilly Padua

Justin Gatlin returned to Padua with an outstanding win in 10.15 on a cool and humid evening at the Meeting Città di Padova – Atletica Mondiale which celebrated its 24th edition on Friday (3).
For Gatlin it was a welcome return to Padua where he ran his first international race in 2003 as a very young sprinter who beat another rising-star Asafa Powell. He went on to win the Olympic title in Athens one year later.

“It was very special to win in Padua where my international career began. I made a good start today,” said Gatlin, who race next at the Terra Sarda Meeting in Sardinia on 7 September. Michael Frater, Olympic and World 4x100 Relay gold medallist, took second place in 10.27.

Padua is also a special venue for Sherone Simpson from Jamaica, who won here in 2004 as a 20-year-old who finished sixth in the 100m and won the 4x100 Relay gold medal in her first Olympic appearance in Athens in the same year. The Beijing 100m Olympic silver medallist clinched her third win in Padua after 2004 and 2009 cruising to a easy win in 11.25 in her final race of the year beating Osaka’s 4x100 Relay world champion Mikele Barber, who second in 11.40.  It was the third win for Simpson after Berlin and Rieti IAAF World Challenge meetings. “It is awesome to compete in Padua. It was cold but I always look forward to compete in Padua. The atmosphere is very nice. I am happy to finish my season healthy.”

Fourth straight win for Obergfoll

German Christina Obergfoll, Olympic Javelin bronze medallist in Beijing and European silver medallist in Barcelona, backed up her successful post-European campaign with her fourth consecutive win after Zurich, Berlin and Rovereto with a best release to 63.39m. For the German, a former European record holder, her second and third best throws to 62.60m and 62.39m would have been enough to win the competition. She was the only thrower able to produce a throw over 60 metres as her compatriot Mareike Rittweg finished second with 57.51.  

Elisa Cusma grabbed the headlines for Italian fans by producing her second consecutive 800m win. The European Indoor bronze medallist from Torino 2009 followed pacemaker Monica Hargrove who went through at the bell in a slow 1:00.54. Cusma decided to take the initiative sensing that the pace was too slow for her and pulled away with 300 metres to go. The Italian, who did not get through the semifinals at the European Championships in Barcelona, changed gear followed by Cuban Yusneisy Santiusti going through at 600 in 1:30 before launching her winning in the final straight to take the win in 2:00.87. Russia’s Elena Kofanova, who was beaten by Cusma in Rovereto, had to settle with runner-up spot with 2:01.06 ahead of Great Britain’s Hannah England (2:01.30).

“I saw that the pace was too slow, so I went to the lead. I am still angry for what happened in Barcelona. I want to bounce back and I am still motivated although it’s the end of a long season,” said Cusma.

Seventeen-year-old Kenyan Purity Rionoripo Cherotich, World Youth champion in the 3000m last year, smashed the Padua meeting record by 11 seconds with an impressive 8:47.41 holding off her compatriot Pauline Korikwiang (8:47.62) and last year’s 1500m World Youth champion  Nelly Chebet Ngeiywo (8:48.18). This year’s 5000m World Junior champion Genzebe Dibaba, younger sister of Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba, had to settle for fourth place in 8:48.35 in a high-quality race.   

Spain’s Antonio Manuel Reina, former European Indoor silver medallist in 2005, returned to winning ways by taking the men’s 800m in 1:46.51 thanks to a decisive kick in the final straight. Canadian Andrew Ellerton took second place in 1:46.77. Third was Mor Seck, a young runner from Senegal who came to Milan two years ago. He improved his PB to 1:45.51 this year and finished sixth at the African Championships in Nairobi thanks to the advice of his Italian coach Giorgio Rondelli, former trainer of Alberto Cova and Francesco Panetta.   

Russian Aleksandra Kiryashova vaulted 4.42m to win the women’s pole vault by 10 cm over her compatriot Yuliya Golubchikova who finished second on a countback over Italian record holder Anna Giordano Bruno who improved her SB set last weekend in Ljubljana by two cm in her comeback from injury. 

Last year’s World silver medallist Nadine Kleinert from Germany was the only shot putter able to produce a put over the 18 metres barrier. The experienced German won with a best attempt at 18.53m in the third round, a result backed up by two attempts at 18.50m. Former Olympic champion Yanina Karolchyk Pravalinsk finished runner-up with 17.76m.

Elsewhere, reigning European Junior champion Aleksander Menkov leapt to 7.98m (-1.1 m/s) in a men’s long jump affected by headwind conditions. American Justin Gaymon won the men’s 400m Hurdles in 49.56.

Joanna Wisniewska from Poland, European bronze medallist, took the win in the women’s discus throw held in the Colbacchini Stadium with 59.64m beating Ukraine’s Kateryna Karsak by five cm. Beijing Olympic champion Stephanie Trafton Brown finished third with 58.88m.

The 24th edition of the Meeting Città di Padova attracted big crowd with a lot of children who packed the Stadio Euganeo creating a highly entertaining atmosphere.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF