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General News Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Three championship records at the Son Moix track

Steven Downes for the IAAF

Three championship records at the Son Moix track tonight across a whole range of events at the World Student Games here saw two Cubans establish their claims to further glory in Spain later in the summer.
But it was an American who produced possibly the finest performance of all.

On Friday, Andy Bloom had been frustrated by a mix-up over the right throwing circle to be used during the discus competition. "I'm not saying it cost me the gold," Bloom said then, "but it sure didn't help."

Tonight, Bloom channelled his anger in the shot circle with a spectacular series of throws, his 21.11-metre best breaking the Games best held by Alessandro Andrei for 14 years. "I was disappointed after the discus so this has made me very happy," Bloom said.

Bloom's series was 20.39, 20.93, 21.11, x, 20.93 (again!), and 19.61. Only three men - John Godina, CJ Hunter and Sven-Oliver Buder - have thrown further than Bloom this year. Normally, Bloom's championship season would be effectively ended here in Palma, since he placed only fourth in last month's US Championships. But because of the new rule allowing entries by defending champions, Bloom will get to return to Spain next month, for the IAAF World Championships, as Godina will be defending the shot title there.

Someone else who definitely will need to be reckoned with in Seville will be the defending world champion, Yoelbi Quesada, of Cuba. Tonight, Quesada successfully defended the first global title he won in 1997, that of World Student Games champion, when he triple jumped 17.40 metres, equal to the second longest in the world this year.

Quesada effectively killed the competition with his second-round leap. Charles Friedek, of Germany, last year's IAAF World Cup winner, was in front after his first-round 17.20 metres jump, but he did not know how to respond once the Cuban stamped his authority on the meeting.

"When Quesada jumped 17.40, I was really shocked," Friedek said. "Nothing worked properly any more." Quesada, after two further no jumps, did not even bother to use his full allocation of attempts.

The Czech, Jiri Kuntos, and Romania's IAAF world junior champion, Ionut Punga, both jumped exactly the same distance, 16.97m in the final round. The bronze medal went to Kuntos thanks to his better second-best jump (16.91m).

Quesada's gold was Cuba's second of the night, Daimi Pernia producing an outstanding performance to win the 400m hurdles in 53.95sec, her second Games record in as many days.

Pernia missed most of the 1998 season due to a knee injury. Her Cuban national record tonight has seen the fast-improving Pernia, aged 22, reduce her two-year-old best time (55.51sec) by more than 1.5sec during the course of this meeting, and now - ranked sixth in the world this year - she must be rated as having the chance of another medal when she returns to Spain next month.

Drawn in lane five, Pernia, bronze medallist at the last World Student Games in Sicily two years ago, always looked relaxed and composed as she hunted down Joanna Hayes, of the United States, outside her.

After Britain's Sinead Dudgeon made an error going into hurdle six, the race for the minor medals became a battle between Hayes and Ulrike Urbanskiy, of Germany. Hayes, with 54.57, outlasted her rival, who was nonetheless delighted with her lifetime best 54.93.

The third Games record of the day came in the 5,000 metres, where Sergei Lebid of the Ukraine, marginally improved on the oldest record in the Student Games book, the 13min 37.56sec set by the very famous Italian distance runner, Franco Fava, as long ago as 1975.

In a steady-paced race, Lebid dictated much of the pace, and prove to also possess the better finishing kick over the last 600 metres, as he out-ran the rest of the lead group of seven to win gold in 13:37.52.

There were five other gold medals won today. Alejandro Lopes, of Mexico (men's 20km, 1hr 25min 12sec) and Romania's Claudia Iovan (women's 10km, 44min 22sec) took the walks titles.

The Czech, Pavla Hamackova, won the women's pole vault by clearing 4.25m on her third attempt, Zsolt Nemeth (Hungary) threw the hammer 80.40 metres for gold, and in the heptathlon, America's Tiffany Lott's superior hurdling, shot putting and javelin throwing saw her amass 5,959pts.

Check out the FISU site for full results