Genova, Italy National indoor Triple Jump record holder Magdelin Martinez, winning with 14.46, and double European bronze medallist Manuela Levorato, setting a national indoor record at 200m with 23.14, were the headliners at the 2003 Italian Indoor Championships, 1 & 2 March.
This event, which included the Club championships, was the last chance for athletes to either test their form or set qualification standards before flying to Britain for the World Indoor Championships.
In the club competition there were wins for Carabinieri Bologna (men) and Sai Fondiaria Atletica Roma (women).
Magdelin Martinez, fresh from her national indoor record of 14.61 in Karlsruhe on Friday night (28 Feb) - previous record: Fiona May 14.56 - leapt 14.46 on her first attempt to win in Genova.
Senegal's Kene Ndoye finished second with a good 14.23, ahead of Barbara Lah, third with 14.01.
“I knew I had trained well at Formia with Fiona May. For this reason the record at Karlsruhe did not surprise me", said Magdelin. About her hopes at Birmingham she said: “First of all I hope to qualify for the final and then let’s see what happens.”
In the men’s field events, the highlight was the High Jump which featured the recent European Indoor Cup winner Alessandro Talotti (PB 2.28), the twin brothers Giulio Ciotti (PB 2.28 outdoors) and Nicola Ciotti (2002 Italian indoor champion - 2.30m national indoor record) and Andrea Bettinelli (who tied with Ciotti on 2.30 last year).
The competition was much awaited among Italian athletics enthusiasts because of Talotti's win in Leipzig over the European outdoor champion Yaroslav Rybakov, and because nobody had cleared 2.30, the qualifying entry for the World Indoors so far this winter.
Bettinelli cleared 2.20 and then 2.24 on his first attempts. Talotti responded to Bettinelli’s 2.24 clearance by jumping 2.26 on the first attempt and so took the lead. Bettinelli reacted with a first time clearance at 2.28. Talotti gambled by attempting 2.32, a height which would have been a new national record but to no avail, and so had to settle for second place with 2.26 behind Bettinelli’s winning 2.28.
Having also jumped 2.26 but on his second attempt, Giulio Ciotti lost the battle for the second place with Talotti on count-back.
The 5 km walk, a distance no longer contested in the major international indoor championships provided the seasonal world best thanks to a great performance by Alessandro Gandellini, with 18:39.19. The previous seasonal best was held by Polish star Robert Korzeniowski with 18:42.4. Elisabetta Perrone, bronze medallist at Edmonton, dominated the women’s 3 km event.
Manuela Levorato was one of the stars of the weekend. The Italian sprint heroine did not disappoint her fans with a win in the 60 metres in 7.26, beating Erica Marchetti (7.39), who was a bronze medallist at the European Junior Champs in 1997.
Despite a slow start Levorato improved her seasonal best by one hundredth of a second to 7.26 (seven hundredths of a second off Marisa Masullo's national record). Her previous seasonal best of 7.27 was set at the Birmingham Energizer Euroseries meeting where she finished fourth behind Zhanna Block, Marina Kislova and Philomena Mensah, three of the rivals she will face at the World Indoors.
With a 23.14 clocking when also winning the 200 metres, Levorato took ten hundredths of a second off the previous national record set in 1997 by Virna De Angeli (silver medallist in the 400m Hurdles at the World Juniors at Lisbon 1994).
Daniela Graglia, a surprising semi-finalist at the European championships last summer finished second in a new PB of 23.54.
“I am happy with my performances over the weekend although the start in the 60 metres was sluggish,” said Levorato. Before the 200 metres I was still undecided whether to double 60 and 200 at the World Indoors. After the 200 metres final I am more confident to try both distances at Birmingham, although I know these races are very competitive, especially in the 200 metres. I am particularly impressed by the French, Muriel Hurtis and Sylviane Felix who are building up well for the World outdoors on home soil in Paris.”
”I have not frequently run the 200 metres indoors so far in my career, so I find it difficult running the tight bends. Over this distance I have to get used to running on the boards. I am planning some training sessions in the next few days over the longer distance abroad, perhaps in Austria, where there are good indoor facilities.”
About the Birmingham track which Levorato tested on 21 February at the Norwich Union meeting she commented: “The track is very fast. I have had a good indoor campaign so far this winter despite an injury in mid-January which makes me a bit worried when I start from the blocks. I am a bit tired now after so many competitions. However, I enjoyed the tour around Europe to competing in the best indoor meetings in Ghent, Stockolm, Birmingham and Lievin. It was the opportunity to confront some of the best sprinters in the world, who are also very good friends of mine. This was the best preparation for the World Indoors.”
Marco Torrieri clocked the fifth fastest time in Italy in the men’s 200 metres with 20.78, in a high quality competition which featured Stefano Dacastello, second in a indoor PB of 20.90 and Massimiliano Donati, third in 20.95.
Andrea Rabino dominated the 60 metres dash in 6.67, ahead of a surprising Stefano Teglielli, second in 6.75, who edged out Stefano Dacastello in the photo-finish.
Unfortunately, Simone Collio, one of the major Italian surprises of the indoor season - with a double win at the Tampere meeting (60m 6.66; 100m 10.33) - was disqualified under the new false start ruling after making second false start in the final. Earlier, Collio had run 6.71, the fastest time recorded in the semi-finals.
Antonietta Di Martino won the women’s High Jump by clearing 1.93m on her second attempt. She later failed two attempts at 1.99, which would have been the new italian indoor record, but she was more than pleased with that performance.
“I am happy just to have recovered from the injury I sustained last summer and to have returned to the best form. It is a dream for me just to have booked a ticket on the plane to Birmingham after what I had to suffer from." The 25 year-old italian has produced a sensational comeback this winter after a 2002 ravaged by a serious injury.
Cristiana Checchi won the title in the Shot Put with 17.96 on her last attempt, one day after capturing the bronze medal at the European Winter Throwing Challenge at Gioia Tauro. Runner-up in this event was Assunta Legnante (fourth at Gioia Tauro) with 17.86. Paolo Dal Soglio won the men’s competition with a 20.06 release on his second attempt.
The national championships provided some surprises like the defeat of Italian indoor record holder Giuseppe Gibilisco in the Pole Vault (5.71 at Donetsk on 16 February). In Genova he had to content with second place in a modest 5.30. The win went to Maurilio Mariani (the former record holder until Gibilisco's 5.71) who cleared 5.40 on his second attempt.
The 400 metres provided one of the major surprises with Edoardo Vallet winning in the men’s event in 46.69, the best time of the 2003 indoor season in Italy, and inside the qualifying standard for the World Indoors.
In the women’s 400 metres, Monika Niederstätter, Italian champion in 53.49 and Maria Teresa Schutzmann, second with 53.73, also booked their seats to Birmingham. The race was won by the Nigerian Olabisi Afolabi (who competes for the Italian team Assi Banca Toscana Firenze) in 52.93 but the Italian title went to Niederstätter, who was fourth in the 400 metres hurdles at last summer’s European Championships in Munich.
Salvatore Vincenti (eighth at Munich in the 5000 metres) clinched the 1500m title in a tactical race with 3:47.03, by pulling away at the bell from the favourites Lorenzo Perrone and Christian Obrist (seventh at the Europeans in the 1500 metres).
In the women’s race, Eleonora Riga set an Italian junior indoor 1500m record with 4:24.07 when finishing fourth. The title was captured by Michela Zanatta in 4:20.23. Lorenzo Perrone (tenth at Munich in the 1500m), clinched the qualifying entry for the World Indoors with a good 7:50.43 in the 3000 metres.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
60 metres: 1 Andrea Rabino (Carabinieri Bologna) 6.67; 2 Stefano Teglielli (Interforze Aereonautica) 6.75; 3 Stefano Dacastello (Interforze Aereonautica) 6.75
200 metres: 1 Marco Torrieri (Interforze Aereonautica) 20.78; 2 Stefano Dacastello (Interforze Aereonautica) 20.90; 3 Massimiliano Donati (Fiamme Gialle) 20.95; 4 Emanuele Di Gregorio (Interforze Aereonautica) 21.37
400 metres: 1 Edoardo Vallet (Fiamme Oro Padova) 46.69; 2 Andrea Barberi (Fiamme Gialle) 47.40; 3 Jens Amanfu (La Fratellanza Modena) 47.80
800 metres: 1 Christian Neunhäuserer (Forestale) 1:49.05; 2 Massimo De Meo (Carabinieri) 1:50.04; 3 Davide Cadoni (Fiamme Oro Padova) 1:50.69
1500 metres: 1 Salvatore Vincenti (Fiamme Gialle) 3:47.03; 2 Lorenzo Perrone (Fiamme Gialle) 3:47.12; 3 Christian Obrist (Carabinieri Bologna) 3:47.27
3000 metres: 1 Lorenzo Perrone (Fiamme Gialle) 7:50.43; 2 Salvatore Vincenti (Fiamme Gialle) 7:54.70; 3 Domenico D’Ambrosio (Carabinieri) 7:56.29; 4 Gianni Crepaldi (Carabinieri) 7:59.34
60 hurdles: 1 Emiliano Pizzoli (Carabinieri) 7.87; 2 Andrea Putignani (Fiamme Azzurre) 7.93; 3 Nicola Comencini (Bentegodi Verona) 7.94
5 km Walk: 1 Alessandro Gandellini (Fiamme Oro) 18:39.19; 2 Ivano Brugnetti (Fiamme Gialle) 18:47.36; 3 Michele Didoni (Carabinieri Bologna) 19:19.72
Long Jump: 1 Nicola Trentin (Fiamme Azzurre) 7.71; 2 Ferninando Iucolano (Cus Palermo) 7.64; 3 Alessio Rimoldi (Carabinieri Bologna) 7.63;
High Jump: 1 Andrea Bettinelli (Fiamme Gialle) 2.28; 2 Alessandro Talotti (Carabinieri Bologna) 2.26; 3 Giulio Ciotti (Fiamme Azzurre) 2.26; 4 Filippo Campioli (La Fratellanza Modena) 2.17
Triple Jump: 1 Fabrizio Donato (Fiamme Gialle) 16.38; 2 Salvaore Morello (Cus Palermo) 16.09; 3 Fabrizio Schembri (Carabinieri Bologna) 16.04
Pole Vault: 1 Maurilio Mariani (Carabinieri) 5.40; 2 Giuseppe Gibilisco (Fiamme Gialle) 5.30; 3 Nicola Tronca (La Fratellanza Modena) 5.20
Shot Put: 1 Paolo Dal Soglio (Carabinieri) 20.06; 2 Marco Dodoni (Forestale) 19.13; 3 Paolo Capponi (Fiamme Oro Padova) 17.85
60 metres: 1 Manuela Levorato (Camelot Milano) 7.26; 2 Erica Marchetti (Assi Banca Toscana) 7.39; 3 Daniela Graglia (Fondiaria Sai Atletica) 7.40; 4 Manuela Grillo (Forestale) 7.46;
200 metres: 1 Manuela Levorato (Camelot Milano) 23.14 (Italian record; the previous world record was held by Virna De Angeli with 23.24); 2 Daniela Graglia 23.54 (PB); 3 Manuela Grillo (Forestale) 24.12
400 metres: 1 Olabisi Afolabi (Nigeria /Assi Banca Toscana Firenze) 52.93; 2 Monika Niederstätter (Forestale) 53.49; 3 Maria Teresa Schutzmann (Cus Cagliari) 53.73; 4 Virna De Angeli (Comense) 54.10
800 metres: 1 Elisabetta Artuso (Forestale) 2:05.33; 2 Alexia Oberstolz ( SSV Brunico Volksbank) 2:05.68; 3 Claudia Salvarani (Fiamme Oro Padova) 2:06.69
1500 metres: Michela Zanatta (Fondiaria Sai Atletica Roma) 4:20.23; 2 Claudia Salvarani (Fiamme Oro Padova) 4.22.67; 3 Elisabetta Artuso (Forestale) 4:23.18; 4 Eleonora Riga (Studentesca Udinese) 4:24.18 (Italian junior record)
3000 metres: 1 Michela Zanatta (Fondiaria Sai Assicura Roma) 9:19.48; 2 Vincenza Sicari (Fondiaria Sai Atletica) 9:21.73; 3 Serenella Sbrissa (Fiamme Oro Padova) 9:22.50
60 hurdles: 1 Margherita Nicolussi (Forestale) 8.35; 2 2 Flavia Arcioni (Forestale); 3 Micol Cattaneo (Comense) 8.49
3 Km Walk: 1 Elisabetta Perrone (Forestale) 12:13.00; 2 Gisella Orsini (Forestale) 12:42.03; 3 Annarita Sidoti (Fondiaria Sai Atletica Roma) 12:42.15
Long Jump : 1 Thaimi O’Reilly Causse (Cus Bologna) 6.09; 2 Laura Gatto (Fondiaria Sai Atletica) 6.03; 3 Silvia Biondini (Forestale) 6.02
Triple Jump: 1 Magdelin Martinez (Atletica 2000 Milano) 14.46; 2 Kene Ndoye (Senegal/ Fondiaria Sai Atletica Roma) 14.23; 3 Barbara Lah (Camelot Milano) 14.01; 4 Baya Rahouli (Atletica Apuana Femminile) 13.98; 5 Silvia Biondini (Forestale) 13.77; 6 Simona La Mantia (Cus Palermo) 13.61
High Jump: 1 Antonietta Di Martino (Fiamme Gialle) 1.93; 2 Stefania Cadamuro (Fondiaria Sai Atletica Roma) 1.84; 3 Sarah Bettoso (Cus Bologna) 1.82; 4 Elena Brambilla (Camelot Milano) 1.82
Pole Vault: 1 Maria Carla Bresciani (Fiammme Oro Padova) 3.95; 2 Arianna Farfaletti (Camelot Milano) 3.90; 3 Francesca Zanini (Assindustria Padova) 3.90
Shot Put: 1 Cristiana Checchi (Atletica 2000 Milano) 17.96; 2 Assunta Legnante (Camelot Milano) 17.86; 3 Mara Rosolen (Fiamme Oro Padova) 16.46; 4 Chiara Rosa (Tormene/Sanp. Padova) 16.16
Italian Team for World Indoors in Birmingham - (club in brackets)
60m Simone COLLIO (Fiamme Gialle)
Andrea RABINO (Carabinieri)
200m Stefano DACASTELLO (Aeronautica)
Marco TORRIERI (Aeronautica)
400m Edoardo VALLET (Fiamme Oro)
800m Christian NEUNHAUSERER (Forestale)
1500m Christian OBRIST (Carabinieri)
Salvatore VINCENTI (Fiamme Gialle)
3000m Lorenzo PERRONE (Fiamme Gialle)
60h Andrea GIACONI (Fiamme Gialle)
High jump Andrea BETTINELLI (Fiamme Gialle)
Pole Vault: Giuseppe GIBILISCO (Fiamme Gialle)
Shot Put: Paolo DAL SOGLIO (Carabinieri)
60 & 200m Manuela LEVORATO (Camelot)
60m Erica MARCHETTI (Assi Banca Toscana)
200m Daniela GRAGLIA (Fondiaria-SAI)
400m Monica NIEDERSTAETTER (Forestale)
Maria Teresa SCHUTZMANN (Cus Cagliari)
High Jump: Antonietta DI MARTINO (Fiamme Gialle)
Triple Jump: Magdelin MARTINEZ (Atletica 2000)
Shot Put: Cristiana CHECCHI (Atletica 2000)
Assunta LEGNANTE (Camelot)