Dayron Robles takes another victory in Turin (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright
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Laalou and Robles impress in rainy Turin

Turin, ItalyAmine Laalou and Olympic 110m Hurdles champion Dayron Robles headlined the 12th Memorial Primo Nebiolo on Friday (10) in the athletics stadium named after the late IAAF President Primo Nebiolo who died in 1999.

Laalou set a new meeting record in the men’s 1500m with 3:31.92. Robles clocked 13.23 into a headwind in the 110m Hurdles to score his third win in his favourite meeting in Turin.

Moroccan Laalou came to Turin with the goal to clock a super fast time in the 3:30-3:31 region. Kenyan pacemakers Joseph Boit and Job Kinyor set a fast pace going through 800 metres in 1:51.09, when Boit dropped out. The second pacemaker Kinyor was charged to push Laalou to 1200 metres, doing so in 2:49.67. Without opposition in the final 300 metres, Laalou continued his race against the clock to strip the meeting record from his illustrious compatriot Hicham El Guerrouj who ran 3:33.51 in the meeting’s second edition in 1996. Laalou, who ran 3:29.53 in Monaco last year, is now ranked sixth on the 2011 world seasonal list.

“I am proud that I broke El Guerrouj’s meet record. I want to return next year to run faster,” said Laalou.  

Robles cruised to a winning 13.23 with a headwind of -0.5 m/s to clinch his third win in Turin after 2008 (when he clocked 13.28 one week before his world record in Ostrava) and 2010 (13.08 meeting record). The weather was a bit wet for a faster time after a heavy downpour during the afternoon but Robles showed his impressive form. For the Cuban star it’s the fourth win this outdoor season after Baie Mahault (13.35), Hengelo (13.07) and Ostrava (13.14).

“I felt nervous before the race,” Robles said. “I had a very bad start but I ran better in the second half of the race. I am disappointed with the time. I did not put in practice what I am doing in training. However I enjoy running in Turin, a lucky city for me. The atmosphere is always very nice. The track was wet but it’s a fast one.” Robles will now return home to Cuba to train ahead of his next race in the Samsung Diamond League fixture in Lausanne on 30 June.

Zagorniy again throws beyond 81 metres

The men’s Hammer Throw, which featured the two top throwers in the world this season - Aleksey Zagorniy from Russia  and Italian Nicola Vizzoni - opened the meeting on a high note in the late afternoon following a heavy downpour. Zagorniy, who leads the world seasonal list with the two best throws of the year of 81.73m and 81.54m, opened the competition with 77.33m in the first round which he increased to 79.92m in the third, before producing a best release to 81.49m in the fourth.

Vizzoni, who threw 80.29m in the Coppa Italia in Florence last Sunday, had a solid start with 76.68m and, after two fouls, 74.96m and another foul, improved to 77.83m. The 38-year-old Italian thrower, silver medallist at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000 and the European Championships in Barcelona last year, produced his first 80-metre plus throw since 2001 when he threw 80.50m in Formia and finished fourth at the Edmonton World Championships with 80.21m.

“I train very hard but I am still enjoying my sport. This is the secret of my longevity. I created the Hammer Throw Group in my town Pietrasanta and I train some young throwers,” Vizzoni said.

La Mantia and Donato take home wins in the Triple Jump

Italian triple jump star Simona La Mantia, this year’s European Indoor champion in Paris Bercy, leapt to a winning 14.39m coming close to her 14.43m season’s best set in her native Palermo lat month.

“I felt better today than in Florence during last weekend’s Coppa Italia where I jumped 14.25m,” La Mantia said. “Nothing has changed since my win in Paris. I have continued training hard to prepare for Daegu. I want to be in the top five in the world before Daegu.” Next up for her is next weekend’s European Team Championships in Stockholm, the Italian championships in Turin and the Paris Samsung Diamond League.

On a wet night with rain failing during the competition, European Indoor silver medallist Fabrizio Donato was the only jumper able to sail beyond 17 metres in the men’s event. In difficult weather conditions and on a wet track, Donato, who won the European Indoor title in Turin 2009 with 17.59m, reached 17.01m in the fifth round, his first of leap of the season beyond 17 metres. Italian Indoor champion Fabrizio Schembri was second at 6.88m with World junior champion Aleksey Fedorov from Russia third with 16.82m. Portugal’s reigning Olympic champion Nelson Evora, who is in his comeback trail after a 2010 season ruined by injuries, finished fifth with 16.42m.

“It was tough to jump in these conditions but I had a good feeling,” Donato said. “Jumping 17.01 taking off 30 cm from the board was a good result. I need to take a rest and I will skip the European Team Championships. I will return at the Italian Champs in Turin at the end of June.”

A surprising result came in the women’s 800m where Cuban Yusnesiy Santiusti clocked a new lifetime best of 1:59:00, the sixth fastest time in the world this year. Santiusti, who runs for the Assindustria Sport Padova team and finished second in the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Dakar behind World champion Caster Semenya, held off Ukraine’s Liliya Lobanova who again dipped under the two-minute barrier with 1:59:28. European indoor and outdoor 400m finalist Marta Milani showed her potential in the longer race after smashing her PB to 2:01.50 for fourth place.

Ethiopian Alemu Birtukan, the World junior champion and recently-minted World junior record holder in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase at the Compeed Golden Gala in Rome, continued her breakthrough season with a solid win in the steeplechase with 9:36.31, beating Kenyan Christine Muyanga (9:42:79) and Moncton 2010 World Junior champion Purity Kirui (9:46:39). A great result for Italian athletics came from last year’s World Junior finalist Giulia Martinelli who set her second Under 23 record in a week by smashing the 10-minute barrier for the first time in her career with 9:52.51.

Aziz Lahbabi from Morocco, born in 1991, set a new PB to win the men’s 5000m in 13:14.07, missing Daniel Salel’s meeting record (13:12:46) set in 2010.  

World season leader Aleksey Dmitrik, who cleared 2.35m in Huelva last week, won the men’s High Jump with 2.25m beating his compatriot Sergey Mudrov on countback.

In the women’s Javelin Throw, only Great Britain’s Goldie Sayers and European champion Linda Stahl from Germany managed to throw over the 60 metres barrier in the wet conditions. Sayers took the lead with 60.30m in the first attempt. Stahl came close to Sayers with 60.14m in the second round but did not improve.  

In the men’s 100m, Aziz Ouhadi from Morocco, who set his PB earlier this year clocking 10.09, took the victory in 10.25 beating 2009 European 60m indoor silver medallist Fabio Cerutti who finished second in 10.38 in his home city. The women’s 400m win went to Ukraine’s Antonina Yefremova In 51.43. Yvette Lewis from the USA clocked a winning 13.04 in the women’s 100m Hurdles.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF