Louis Tsatoumas (GRE) (Bongarts/Getty Images) © Copyright
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8.66 leap by Tsatoumas in Kalamata

An amazing 8.66m leap in the Long Jump by Luis Tsatoumas was the highlight of the 12th annual edition of the EAA Permit meeting “Papaflessia” held today in Kalamata, Greece, under warm weather conditions.

Other highlights included Jadel Gregorio’s 17.28 victory in the Triple Jump as well as a warm weremony organized by the hosting club Messiniakos to honour one of the European athletics greatest legends, Poland’s Irina Szewinska, now an IAAF Council Member.

Tsatoumas smashes national record with new world leader

Tsatoumas, Greece’s silver medalist of the European Indoor Championships, produced an 8.66m (wind +1.6 m/s) effort to smash the 13-year-old national record for Greece (8.36 by Konstantinos Koukodimos in 1994) and take the lead on the world season list. With this mark, Tsatoumas also moves up to No. 8 all-time among performer and second all-time among Europeans.

The Greek began the competition with 8.34m which equalled his career best in the first round. After two invalid jumps in the second and third rounds he set the record which aroused the spectators at Kalamata stadium. In a deep competition, Cuban Luiz Melis placed second with 8.20m (wind 1.4 m/s), followed by Ukraine’s Oleksyi Lukasevich who jumped 8.14m.

Tsatoumas has been a recognized talent since 1999 when he was 4th in the World Youth Championships, while in 2001 he won gold at the European Juniors Championships. A slight recession of his career seemed to reach the end last year when he had a brilliant performance in the Grand Prix series. In the European Indoor Championships held in Birmingham last winter he took the silver medal, a promising sign of further progress. Today, Tsatoumas produced the warmly expected performance, participating in a meeting held in the city of his birth and proving he is in the right form to verify the high expectations.

“I was feeling ready for a big performance today,” Tsatoumas told Greek television after the end of the celebrations. “I was expected a national record with a jump around 8.40m, but this one is really amazing.” Tsatoumas was also honoured as the best athlete of the meeting.

Easy wins for Aldama, Gregorio

The Triple Jump bronze medalist at the 2006 World Indoor Championships, Sudan’s Yamile Aldama, won the event with a 14.58m leap, to move up to the No. 4 spot on the season’s list. Athanasia Perra of Greece, the bronze medalist at the 2005 European U-23 Championships, was second with a 14.39 leap to equal her personal best and achieve the standard for August’s World Championships. Ukraine’s Olga Saladuha also exceeded the 14m, taking third with 14.14m.

Brazil’s Jadel Gregorio verified the forecasts and easily won the men’s event with a 17.28m leap, although he did not threaten his season’s best of 17.90m set at the Belem Grand Prix. Russia’s Alexander Petrenko also exceeded 17m to finish second (17.18m).

Hession, Stanyeyeva dominate dash races

Ukraine’s Irina Stanyeyva was the winner of the 100m with 11.32, just .01 seconds off of her personal best, and later she doubled back to win the 200m as well (23.71). Sweden’s Jenny Kallur won the second 200m heat in 23.92.

Ireland’s Paul Hession also took a sprint double, clocking 10.28 and 20.67.

Botswana’s California Molefe won the 400m in 46.42, followed by Greek European Championships finalist Dimitrios Regas who clocked 47.28
 
Palamar wins high jump with 1.98m

Another Ukrainian, Vita Palamar won the women’s High Jump leaping 1.98m, her best performance this season. Palamar was followed by two young Greek jumpers, Antonia Stergiou who cleared 1.92m and Persefoni Hatzinakou who leapt 1.90m, both setting personal bests. Stergiou also made the standard for the World Championships in Osaka, although her main objective this year is a good performance in the European Juniors Championships in Hengelo.

Elsewhere...

In the men’s 400m hurdles Greece’s Minas Alozidis, who was a finalist in the European Championships in Gothenburg last year, approached his personal best to win easily with 49.41, while South African Ockert Cilliers placed second with 50.70. The Greek star of the event, Periklis Iakovakis, plans to start his season later this month.

Other good performance were produced by the 20-year-old javelin thrower Yervasios Filippidis, who reached a personal best to win the event with 81.01m, defeating Latvia’s Einars Kovals (79.75m) and Russian Ilya Korotkov (79.40m). It’s the third all-time performance for Greece by the young thrower.

Finally, Romania’s Liliana Popescu won the 800m in 2.00.85 and Ukraine’s Natalya Tobias the 1500m with 4.05.41

A special tribute for Szewinska

In a short ceremony during the meeting, the Organisers honoured Polish athletics legend Irena Szewinska, for the distinguished achievements she managed during her brilliant career.

In the initial international presentation in Tokyo Olympic Games 1964, under her maiden name, the 18-year-old Irena Kirszenstein won the silver medal in the Long Jump and the 200m, while she participated in the Polish 4X100 relay team which won the gold medal in a World record time of 43.6. After tying the 100m World record and breaking the 200m World record in 1965, she went to the European Championships in Budapest in 1966, where she won the gold medals in the 200m, the Long Jump and the 4X100m Relay. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympics she tied twice more the 100m World record in the qualification rounds and the semi final, but finally got the bronze medal, following American Wyomia Tyus who set a new mark of 11.0. A few days later she dominated the 200m final. In the Olympic Games of 1976, the last for Irena Szewinska, she won the gold medal in the 400m in a World record 49.28.

During her career, Szewinska won seven medals in four consecutive Olympics, a feat never before accomplished by any runner. She also won ten medals in European Championships, awarded the title of Polish athlete of the year five times and elected Polish athlete of the 20th century. Today, she holds positions in several sporting organisations, among them Vice President of the National Olympic Committee.

Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF

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