13.00 Cuban national record for Robles in Stuttgart (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Robles 13.17, Moreno reaches 74.90 at Barrientos Memorial

Cuban rising star Dayron Robles flew to a meet record of 13.17 in the 110m Hurdles while Yipsi Moreno defied a fever and threw the Hammer to 74.90 to highlight the Barrientos Memorial in Havana (24-27 May).

The meeting also served as the Cuban national championships and final test at home before many of the Island's stars cross the Atlantic to start their European campaigns.

The 2006 World Indoor Championships silver medallist passed the 10 hurdles smoothly and stopped the clock in 13.17, 0.22 faster than his 2006 Barrientos victory and also swifter than 2000 Olympic champion Anier Garcia's meet record of 13.29.

His teammates Yoel Hernandez (13.49) and Garcia (13.74) were a distant second and third, respectively.

"I am surprised by the time and my teammates encouraged me to run a fast race today," said Robles.

The 20-year-old ran close to the world lead of 13.12, shared by USA's Anwar Moore and David Payne. One of his archrivals, China's 2004 Olympic champion and world record holder Liu Xiang shows 13.14 this year.

Coach: sub-13 in 2007

Robles admitted he still needs to improve some aspects like his racing rhythm, but is confident he will enjoy another successful season similar to his breakthrough 2006.

According to his coach Santiago Antunez, Robles' time is "formidable". "He has gained such potency that he will be able to run under 13 seconds this year, although our main aim is the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008," said Antunez, who guided Garcia to the Olympic gold in Sydney.

Robles is scheduled to make his European summer debut in Lille, on June 8.

Moreno reaches 74.90

On the infield, World and Olympic silver medallist Yipsi Moreno defied a fever caused by tonsillitis and produced a massive 74.90 to break her own meet record of 74.07 from 2003.

"I wanted to throw far at home with my people watching. I did my best despite being ill," said the 26-year-old, who denied feeling the pressure of Russia's Tatiana Lysenko's world record of 78.61, set a day earlier.

"On the contrary, when I hear this news I feel more encouraged. If she did it, I can also do it," added the 2001 and 2003 World champion.

Arasay Thondike was second with 70.02, while 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Yunaika Crawford (68.82) is gradually returning to her best form after a long absence due to injury.

Close fight in the Men's Triple Jump

With five 17m men in the field, every Triple Jump contest in Cuba becomes a hard-battle for the top spots, especially in a season in which only two will represent the Island at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and three will compete at the World Championships in Osaka.

Two weeks after taking his personal best to 17.52 to win the ALBA Games, 22-year-old Osniel Tosca kept his consistency and prevailed over his compatriots with a 17.26m leap.

Four-time World championships medallists and two-time World Athletics Final winner Yoandry Betanzos is steadily returning to his best form with a season's best of 17.21 for second, followed by David Giralt (17.18), Alexis Copello (17.15) and 1997 World champion Yoelbi Quesada (17.07).

In the women's event, 2005 Helsinki World Championships silver medallist Yargelis Savigne was a clear winner with a 14.54 leap, although she hopes to finally reach the 15-meter mark in Europe. Mabel Gay (14.31) and Yusmay Bicet (14.09) were distant second and third, respectively.

"I aim to jump over 15 meters as the event is very competitive, also here in the Americas. I see them very close. I will jump with all my strength, technique and will to get there," commented Savigne, who improved her Triple Jump record to 14.99 at the ALBA Games in mid May,

She also took the Long Jump with a season's best of 6.66, ahead of Yudelkis Fernández (6.43) and deft athlete Suslaidis Giralt (6.25), the younger sister of two-time World Championships Triple Jump finalist David Giralt.

In the High Jump, Helsinki runner-up Víctor Moya soared to 2.31 and had a good attempt over 2.35, that would equal his personal best.

"This is my second 2.31 of the month, a good sign for the European tour.  I have seen new guys emerging in the area so the Pan American Games will be very competitive," said Moya, who was followed by Antigua and Barbuda's James Grayman (2.18) and Cuba's Ahmed Portuondo (2.10).

In the Long Jump, 2005 World Youth Triple Jump champion Héctor Dayron Fuentes was a surprising winner with a last leap of 7.99, ahead of Jairo Guibert (7.97) and 2000 Olympic champion Iván Pedroso ( 7.96).

Only eight centimetres separated the winner from the seventh place finisher. Ibrahim Camejo (7.96), Oslay Vilches (7.96), Wilfredo Martínez (7.94), Herber McGregor (7.93) rounded out the top seven.

Elsewhere in the throws, 2004 Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumbá lost for the first time on home soil since 2005 as she could only manage 18.01. Olympic finalist Misleidys González (18.37) and Maylin Vargas (18.06) secured the top two spots.

Two area junior records

18-year-old Yordanis Garcia became the fourth Cuban to reach the 8000 point mark to smash Raul Duany's 13-year old CAC junior record in the Decathlon. The 2005 World Youth champion and 2006 World Junior Championships silver medallist scored 8013 points.

In the Javelin, 2005 World Youth bronze medallist Yanet Cruz smashed the Javelin Throw standard by over three metres with a 58.81 metre toss to finish third, behind María Caridad Álvarez (60.95) and Sonia Bisset ( 58.84).

The Barrientos Memorial, the area's oldest track and field meeting, drew athletes from a record 15 countries. None of the foreigners won a gold medal. The best performers were Dominican Republic's Joel Báez (100m) and the women's 4x100m relay team, Mexico's Josafat González (3000m Steeplechase) and Antigua and Barbuda's James Grayman (High Jump), all runner-ups in their respective events.

Mexico's two-time CAC and Iberoamerican champion Juan Pedro Toledo was third in the 200m. Two weeks after blazing to 20.31 at the ALBA Games, local favorite Michel Herrera fell in the final. He had won the 100m in 10.30.

The Barrientos Memorial regretted the absence of the country's two reigning world champions Zulia Calatayud (800m) and Osleidys Menendez (javelin).

Menendez is recovering from a tendonitis in her left heel and hopes to be back to competition after 20 June.

Calatayud, who is yet to compete in 2007, is also healing from recurring muscle cramps. They both hope to be in good form for the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro and continue to defend their global titles in Osaka.

Over 40 athletes are expected to fly to Europe soon to start their European campaign as a final tune-up phase prior to the Pan American Games.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

Here are all the Barrientos champions, all Cubans:

Men -
100m  Michael Herrera  10.30 (+2.0)
200m David Lescay  (Cuba) 21.17 (+0,6)
400 William Collazo  46.71
800 Yeimer López   1:49.6
1.500m Maury Surel Castillo 3:41.87
10.000m Richard Pérez   30:04.17
3.000m ST Yoandry Caraballo   9:01.87
110m H Dayron Robles   13.17 CR  (+0,1)
400m H Yacnier Luis    50.05
HJ Víctor Moya  2.31
PV Lázaro Borges   5.2LJ Héctor Dayron Fuentes  7.99
TJ Osniel Tosca    17.26
SP Carlos Véliz   19.62
DT Yunior Lastre  56.90
HT Noleisis Bicet  70.01
JT Guillermo Martínez  79.21
Decathlon Yordanis García 8.013  CR AJR [ 10.88, 7.06, 15.39, 1.99, 49.98/14.40, 38.96, 4.80, 65.63, 4.47.72 ]
20 km W Yubraile Hernández  1:35:56 
4x100 Relay Cuba A  39.61
4x400 Relay Cuba A 3:08.40

Women -
100m Virgen Venavides   11.42w (+2,6 m)
200 Roxana Díaz    23.32 ((+0,6)
400m Indira Terrero    51.00
800m Juana Méndez    2:05.48
1.500m  Yadira Bataille    4:23.20
5000m Dailín Delmonte   16: 40.25
10.000m  Mariela González   34:41.45  RC
100m H Yenima Arencibia    13.37 (+0.5)
400m H Daimí Pernía    58.50
HJ Lesyani Mayor    1.75
LJ Yargelis Savigne    6.66
TJ  Yargelis Savigne  14.54 (+0,2)
SP Misleidys González   18.37
DT Yania Ferrales   58.04   
HT Yipsi Moreno  74.90  CR
JT María Caridad Álvarez  60.95
20km W Leysi Rodríguez 1:44.25
4x100 Relay Cuba 44.59
4x400 Relay Cuba A 3:34.53
CR - Championships record