Panamanian Irving Saladino gave a great long jumping exhibition at the “III Grande Prêmio Rio de Atletismo” by leaping to a 8.56m world lead mark and South American record, this Sunday 14 May at the “Estádio Célio de Barros” of Rio de Janeiro.
In his first competition after winning the silver medal at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow, the 23-year-old from Ciudad de Colón produced something that had been largely expected by himself, his coach and the South American athletics media: a world class performance.
Only two jumps were needed by Saladino at the “Cidade Maravilhosa”, with a poor 6.82m first attempt - a mistake of a jump - and then the plethoric 8.56m in the second round, aided by a 1.6 m/s wind. Then, he passed the remaining 4 jumps.
Saladino had jump a wind-aided 8.51m in his training city, São Paulo, on 2 April 2005, while his legal personal best and national record was 8.29m, set 3 times. Two outdoors (Seville, 4 June 2005, and São Paulo,18 February 2006) and one indoors (at the Moscow WC on 11 March 2006).
The previous South American record belonged to Brazilian Douglas de Souza, who had jumped 8.40m in São Paulo, on 15 February 1995. De Souza died in 1998 in a car accident, and was a very powerful athlete of 1.94m/88Kg. Saladino is a much smaller, at 1.83m/70Kg.
Saladino is coached by Nélio Moura, and one of his training partners, Brazilian Rogério Bispo, took second place with a personal best of 8.21m (0.9 m/s wind).
Menéndez displays her power
Cuban Javelin thrower Osleidys Menéndez, produced a good performance in the first competition of the year outside of her country, by winning with a 63.45m mark.
The 2004 Olympic champion, 2001 and 2005 World gold medallist and record holder, unleashed her winning throw in the third round. She opened with 62.20m, followed by 60.12m. Then, in her fourth attempt threw 60.53, to record 2 fouls to end the competition.
Menéndez is the 2006 lists world leader with a 65.02m performance set in Santiago de Cuba on 4 March. She came to Rio after winning the “Olimpíadas Cubanas” event a week ago, with 63.33m.
Another Cuban, Sonia Bisset, was second with a season’s best of 61.84m, while Italian Zahra Bani was third, also recording a season’s best of 59.28m. 15 year-old Brazilian Jucilene de Lima, was seventh with a 53.24m performance that sets a new U-20 and U-18 South American record.
Gregório beats Betanzos
Brazilian triple jumper Jadel Gregório continued his supremacy at IAAF events on his home soil, by winning in Rio with 17.13m. Gregório had a great indoor season, capped with a 17.56m South American record and a silver medal at the Moscow World Indoor Championships.
Two days after opening his outdoor campaign at the Super Grand Prix IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting in Doha with 17.20m, the giant from Jandaia do Sul beat a great line-up, leaving the 2006 world leader Yoandri Betanzos in second place with 16.91m. Betanzos jumped 17.63m in La Habana on 4 February, and was third at the World Indoor Championships. Another Brazilian, Jefferson Dias Sabino was third with 16.68m.
Victories in other male events went to American Jason Smoots (a 20.97 PB in 200m), Kenyan Justus Koech (1:47.78 in 800m), Brazilian Fernando Alex Fernandez (8:40.09 in 3000mSt), American Joel Brown (13.45 in 110mh), Argentinean Germán Chiaraviglio (5.20m in PV), Cuban Guillermo Martínez (81.38m in JT), the Brazilian relay teams (39.42 in 4x100m and 3:05.71 in 4x400m).
The other women’s winners were: Senegalese Amy Mbaké Thiam (23.10 in 200m), Brazilian Christiane Ritz dos Santos (2:05.06 in 800m), American Carrie Messner (a 9:51.98 SB in 3000mSt), Brazilians Maíla Paula Machado (12.97 in 100mh) Keila Costa (6.56m in LJ), and the Brazilian relay teams (44.45 in 4x100m and 3:32.35).
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF