Thessaloniki, GreeceJamaican athletes, triple jumper Trecia Smith and 400m runner Michael Blackwood, and Poland’s Anna Rogowska (Pole Vault) were among the star performers of the IAAF Grand Prix II Meeting “Thessaloniki 2004”, last night (19 July).
Smith had an amazing afternoon in the renovated stadium of this Greek city, twice improving her own national Triple Jump record. She leapt 14.77m on her third attempt, only to improve it again a few minutes later, with an impressive jump of 14.90m, the fifth best mark in the world this season.
Her compatriot Michael Blackwood, the 2002 World Cup winner ran is specialist distance of 400m seemingly without feeling any pressure from his opponents. His winning mark equals his season’s best of 44.95, an extremely satisfying performance for Jamaica's Commonwealth champion less than a month before the Olympic Games.
Rogowska improves to 4.71m
Poland’s Anna Rogowska was no less of a star last night. Rogowska won the women’s Pole Vault with 4.50m, and later successfully attempted a new national record at 4.66m. But Rogowska did not stop there. A few minutes later she was delirious with delight after clearing 4.71m, another national record for the rising star.
The women’s Pole Vault also gave the local fans some pleasant moments as Afroditi Skafida improved her personal best to 4.40m and made the Olympic squad, along with the Georgia Tsiliggiri, who had set a new national record of 4.47m two weeks ago in Sparti. It should be noticed that Skafida attempted to clear 4.50m, at which height she made very good but unsuccessful attempts.
Cyprus’ Anna Fitidou cleared 4.30m to equal her own national record.
Pompey clocks 51.02, Perepelova 11.27
Guyana’s Aliann Pompey had an easy afternoon in the women’s 400m, dominating the event with 51.02, very close to her season’s best, while Ireland’s Karin Shinkins placed second with 52.17.
Greece’s Dimitra Dova smashed her personal best with 52.31 a mark good enough to give her not only third place ahead of Helen Karagounis (GBR), but also the possibility of competing in Athens with the 4x400m relay national team.
Uzbekistan’s Lyubov Perepelova clocked 11.27 in the women’s 100m, defeating Ghana’s Vida Amin who placed second with 11.36. In the men’s 100m race, American Josh Norman was the fastest with 10.30.
Hill in good shape
One week after winning the US Trials, Aretha Hill had a throw of 63.51m to win a close Discus competition with Romania’s Nicoleta Grasu who had her best attempt with 63.07m.
In the other events…
Adrian Annus who dominated the men’s Hammer throw with 80.70m. Another Hungarian Zsolt Bíber won the Shot (20.28).
Poland’s Marek Plawgo ran 49.22 in the 400m Hurdles, Bulgaria’s Atanas Rusenov, was winner of the Long Jump with 7.92m, while Cuba’s Anay Tejeda who dominated the women’s 100m Hurdles in 12.82.
Two more events of national interest were held during the Grand Prix, defined by the Greek Federation as Olympic team qualification events, for some Greek athletes who had already achieved the Olympic standards.
In the women’s Long Jump Styliani Pilatou won with 6.55m to make the Greek squad, along with Niki Xanthou and Yannoula Kafetzi, who did not compete today.
In the Hammer throw, Styliani Papadopoulou broke the under 23 national record for Greece with 68.08m to join the Olympic team. Two more athletes, Alexandra Papageorgiou (69.31m. in this season) and Evaggelia Derveni (67.85m) have already secured their participation in the Olympics.
Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF