Cuba’s Dayron Robles clocked 13.12 in the 110m Hurdles and the Netherland Antilles’ Churandy Martina flew to the 100m gold in 10.06 to provide the two Games records on the second day of athletics at the 20th Central American and Caribbean Games.
Robles, 19, only hit the fifth hurdle and went smoothly over the barriers to grab his first international title, clocking 13.12, faster than the previous record (13.27), set by his countryman and 2000 Olympic champion Anier Garcia in 1998.
“I am happy to keep the Cuban winning tradition in this event (10 victories in the last 12 editions of the Games since 1962). I felt the pressure of Villar Nieto, but I kept a good rhythm and was able to break the Games record,” said the 1.92m tall Cuban sensation.
“I am happier, not only for the time, but also for contributing to the Cuban tally in the Games. I don’t know how faster I can run this year, but I just want to focus on improving in every race. I am really surprised by all these fast times,” the 2006 World Indoor Championships silver medallist added.
Runner-up Villar equals Area record
Colombia’s Paulo Cesar Villar Nieto, a 2006 World Indoor Championships finalist, improved his national record to 13.29 and equalled the South American standard held by Brazil’s Redelén dos Santos to finish second.
Cuba’s four-time World Championship finalist Yoel Hernandez was third in 13.51, while Haiti’s defending champion Dudley Dorival finished fifth in 13.68.
Two records in two days for Martina
As he predicted after the semi-final, Churandy Martina took the men’s 100m title, running 10.06 for his second CAC Games record of the competition, 0.01 swifter than his semi-final time.
Martina, 22, became only the 4th CAC Games champion from his country and the first one since 1962. He gave the Netherland Antilles its first medal in Cartagena.
The Bahamas’ Derick Atkins (10.13) and Trinidad and Tobago’s 2005 World Championships relay silver medallist Jacey Harper (10.33) followed him in the finish fine. British Virgin Islands’ defending champion Dion Crabbe (10.48) finished sixth.
His country-woman Tahesia Harrigan missed the Games record by just 0.01 of a second, clocking 11.15 to win the women’s 100m final.
Twenty-four year old Harrigan, who has already run a national record of 11.13 twice this season, easily beat US Virgin Islands’ Laverne Jones (11.50) and Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Virgil Hodge (11.52).
Harrigan joined Crabbe as their country’s only athletics champion in the history of the CAC Games.
Jones and Hodge gave their respective nations their first medals in Cartagena.
Another four gold medals for Cuba!
Cuba had a great day as Yeimer López (400m), Yudelkis Fernandez (Long Jump), Anay Tejeda (100m Hurdles) and Alexis Chivás (Decathlon) won their respective events.
Tejeda, the 2002 World Junior champion, set a season’s best of 12.86 in the sprint hurdles, following her semi-final win in a wind-aided 12.76. Haiti’s Nadine Faustin (12.91) and Jamaica’s Toni Ann Doley (13.10) were second and third, respectively.
In a much awaited final, Yeimer Lopez out kicked Grenada’s two-time World Indoor champion Alleyne Francique in the men’s 400m final. Lopez, the 2003 Pan American Games silver medallist, stopped the clock at 45.28, followed by Francique (45.44) and the Dominican Republic’s Arismendy Peguero (45.55).
Defending champion Carlos Santa of the Dominican Republic (45.65) and Jamaica’s NCAA silver medallist Ricardo Chambers (45.73) were relegated to fourth and fifth, respectively.
Olympian Yudelkis Fernández won a close Long Jump contest by just one centimetre over Colombia’s Catherine Ibarguen (6.37 to 6.36). Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Tanika Liburd was third in 6.23.
Alexis Chivás and former hurdler Carlos Paterson gave Cuba the gold and silver medals in the Decathlon, with respective totals of 7551 and 7203 points. Colombia’s Andrés Horacio Mantilla completed the podium with 7157.
Jose David Galvan, second over 3000m at the 2002 World Cup in Madrid, was the only winner for Mexico on the second day as he dominated the 10,000m final in 29:40.08, followed by Colombia’s Javier Alexander Guarín (29:41.51) and Cuba’s Norbert Gutierrez (29:50.53).
With Cuba’s 2005 World Championships runner-up Victor Moya absent due to illness, South American record holder Gilmar Mayo gave Colombia its third athletics title. Mayo, who cleared 2.19, finally reached the highest position on the podium, after being second in Maracaibo 1998 and third in El Salvador 2002.
Bahamas’ Trevor Barry (2.16) and Mexico’s defending champion Gerardo Martinez (2.16) were second and third, respectively.
Kamani vs Sánchez in 400m Hurdles duel
World and Olympic finalist Bayano Kamani of Panama and 2004 Olympic and two-time World champion Félix Sánchez of the Dominican Republic are expected to highlight the 400m Hurdles final, following the semi-final on Wednesday.
Kamani won the first semi-final in 50.27, closely followed by Sánchez (50.43), who has been away from the track since 14 May.
Both could well break the CAC Games record of 48.87 seconds, set by Jamaica’s Dinsdale Morgan in Maracaibo 1998.
Jamaica’s Bryan Steele (50.56) and Ian Weakly (50.95), Belize’s Jonathan Williams (50.70-NR), Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson (51.31), Jonathan Gibson (51.96) and Colombia’s Amilkar Torres (52.26) completed the list of finalists.
Saladino leads Long Jump qualification
IAAF World Ranking leader Irving Saladino led the Long Jump qualification with a first round leap of 7.97. The 2006 World Indoor Championships silver medallist is ready to give Panama its first title in Cartagena, in the final scheduled for Friday.
The list of 12 finalists includes Cuba’s 2000 Olympic and nine-time World champion Iván Pedroso (7.64), who won the 1998 Games with a record of 8.45, Ibrahím Camejo (7.84), British Virgin Islands’ Keita Cline (7.78) and Bahamas’ Trevor Barry (7.78) and Osbourne Moxey (7.60).
Carlos Rafael Jorge, who finished sixth in the 110m Hurdles, also made it to the Long Jump final.
Cuba’s Yuleidis Limonta leads after the first day of the Heptathlon with 3587 points, followed by Dominican Republic’s Juana Castillo (3505) and Cuba’s Gretchen Quintana (3457). Defending champion Francia Manzanillo is back in eighth with 3065.
Cuba leads the athletics tally with 14 medals (7 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze), followed by Colombia (3-3-4), Mexico (3-1-1), the British Virgin Islands, the Netherland Antilles and El Salvador with one title each.
Twelve other countries have achieved at least one medal.
Seven finals are scheduled for day three: the men’s 400m Hurdles, Triple Jump and Discus Throw, as well as the women’s 200m, 400m Hurdles, Shot Put and Hammer Throw.
Félix Sánchez, Cuba’s 2004 Olympic champion Yumileidi Cumbá (Shot Put), two-time World champion Yipsi Moreno (Hammer) and two-time World Championships silver medallist Yoandri Betanzos (Triple) are some of the stars on show today.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
Day Two - Podiums
1. Tahesia Harrigan BVI 11.15
2. Laverne Jones ISV 11.50
3. Virgil Hodge SKN 11.52
100m Hurdles (0.4)
1. Anay Tejeda CUB 12.86
2. Nadine Faustin HAI 12.91
3. Tony Ann Doley JAM 13.10
1. Yudelkis Fernández CUB 6.37
2. Catherine Ibarguen COL 6.36
3. Tanika Libuke SKN 6.23
1. Churandi Martina AHO 10.06 CR
2. Derek Atkins BAH 10.13
3. Jacey Harper TRT 10.33
1. Yeimer López CUB 45.28
2. Aleyne Francique GRN 45.44
3. Arismendi Peguero DOM 45.55
1. José David Galván MEX 29:40.08
2. Javier Alexander Guarín COL 29:41.51
3. Norbet Gutiérrez CUB 29:50.53
110m Hurdles (0.7)
1. Dayron Robles CUB 13.12 CR
2. Pablo Cesar Villar COL 13.29 NR EAR
3. Yoel Hernández CUB 13.51
1. Gilmar Mayo COL 2.19
2. Trevor Barry BAH 2.16
3. Gerardo Martínez MEX 2.16
1. Alexis Chivas CUB 7.551 pts
2. Carlos Paterson, Cuba, 7.203
3. Andrés Horacio Mantilla COL 7.157
CR- Championships Record
NR- National Record
EAR- Equals Area Record