Danny Ecker of Germany (© Getty Images)
There were some solid performances in both the long jump events at the 56th Venizelia - EAA permit - meeting in the Helena Venizelou stadium, last night. There was also an encouraging vault from Germany's Danny Ecker who is on the long road back from injury.
The spiritual highlight of the meet was undoubtedly the competitive return of Sofia Sakorafa to the meeting, where twenty two years ago she threw her World Javelin record.
Greece’s Louis Tsatoumas, the European U23 reigning champion, won the men’s Long Jump with a wind assisted 8.37m. Tsatoumas, who failed in the Vardinoyannia meeting last week (where he produced only fouls), last night also produced a jump of 8.19m with a legal wind reading. A 20-year-old Greek Dimitris Diamantaras, placed second with a personal best at 8.10m.
Yannoula Kafetzi, third in the European Cup Super League two weeks ago, set a personal best of 6.71m to win the women’s event and secure her participation in the Athens Olympics.
Zykina clocks 51.66, Ecker clears 5.70m
Russia’s European champion Olesya Zykina started very fast in the women's 400m, but in the last 100m she seemed to lose her strength. She crossed the line in 51.66, followed by Germany’s Claudia Marx who clocked 52.25.
Germany’s Danny Ecker cleared 5.70m to take the win in the Pole Vault. It was the German's best since he began his comeback from injury this year. He also jumped 5.60 in Lille on Saturday for his previous highest of 2004.
Last night Ecker was followed by Bulgaria’s Ilian Efremov who jumped 5.60m for second place, while the young Greek Konstantinos Filippidis, cleared 5.50m, equalling the national juniors record.
In the men’s Triple Jump, Bulgaria’s Momchil Karailiev jumped 16.96m, while Greece’s Christos Meletoglou set a season’s best with a 16.81m performance.
China’s Gao Wing won the women’s Pole Vault with 4.27m, the same height as Bulgaria’s Tanya Stefanova who was second.
Greece’s Georgia Kokloni dominated the women’s 100m in a season’s best 11.31. Flora Redoumi won the 100m Hurdles in 12.96, and Ireland’s Peter Coghlan was the fastest in the men’s 110m Hurdles with 13.67.
Sofia Sakorafa returns
Twenty two years after her World record throw at the Venizelia meeting, Sofia Sakorafa made her competitive return.
It was the afternoon of September 26, 1982 when the Greek television interrupted its normal programming, to report the joyful news for the Greek athletics. Sofia Sakorafa, had just broken the World record in the women’s Javelin throw with 74.20m (old specification spear) in the meeting “Venizelia” held in Chania.
The 25-year-old athlete had achieved the second ever World record for her country, just one month after winning the bronze medal of the European Championships in front of 80.000 spectators in the Olympic Stadium of Athens.
Next year, Sakorafa participated in many meetings, producing world leading performances over the 70m. She arrived in Helsinki to compete in the first IAAF World Championships being one of the favourites for the gold, but this honour was never won by the athlete. Her participation was prohibited by a serious injury and Sofia was obliged to return to Athens. That injury actually marked the end of her career, as in the next years she never returned to the shape of the pre-1982 period. Three years later she announced her retirement.
Today, the former World record holder, at the age of 47, returned to Venizelia, to participate again in the javelin throw. It’s the first stop on her path to set the standard for Athens Olympics. This time, Sakorafa, has decided to represent Palestine and has got the IAAF’s permission in order to attempt for Olympics participation under her new nationality.
Her objective was not achieved today. Her best throw, at 47.23m, was about nine metres less that the ‘B’ standard. But Sakorafa was very happy after the competition.
“I am thrilled to be back on the field, in this stadium. I compete sharing the same ideas with thousands of athletes all over the world. I plan to participate in more meetings and finally to enjoy the Olympics in my country.“
Setting the standard or not, Sakorafa remains a leading personality in the Greek athletics scene. Being involved in the politics of the local government, participating in various social forums and talking on issues regarding the Olympic values and peace.
Michalis Nikitaridis for the IAAF
Heat 1: (+1.9) 1. Petridis Aris GRE 10.53; 2. Neofitou Michalis CYP 10.67; 3. Rotos Anthimos CYP 10.69
Heat 2: (+1.3) Maskarenhas Jarbas BRA 10.45; 2. Idriss Sanou BUF 10.47; 3 Yepishin Andrey RUS 10.54
800m: 1. Suping Jonny RSA 1.47.31; 2. Dirshe Rizak SWE 1.47.82; 3. Aritkulov Ramil RUS 1.47.86
100mh: (0.0) 1. Coghlan Peter IRL 13.67; 2. Newton Robert GBR 13.79; 3. Klsykh Andrey RUS 13.82
400mh: 1. Borschenko Alexandr RUS 49.99; 2. Derevyagin Alexander RUS 50.06; 3. Vershinin Leonid BLR 50.13
Pole Vault: 1. Ecker Danny GER 5.70m; 2. Efremov Ilian BUL 5.60m; 3. Filippidis Konstantinos GRE 5.50m national juniors’ record
Long Jump: 1. Tsatoumas Louis GRE 8.37m (+3.0) [best non-assisted 8.19m (+2.0]; 2. Diamantaras Dimitris GRE 8.10m (+2.0); 3. Trentin Nikola ITA 8.00m (+1.8)
Triple Jump: 1. Karailiev Momchil BUL 16.96m (+0.5); 2. Meletoglou Christos GRE 16.81 m. (+1.8); 3. Donovici Daniel ROM 16.81m (-0.7)
100m: 1 Kokloni Georgia GRE 11.36 SB; Dragun Oksana BLR 11.64; 3. Nevmerzhitskaia Yelena BLR 11.65
400m: 1. Zykina Olesya RUS 51.66; 2. Marx Claudia GER 52.25; 3. Shinkins Karen IRL 52.51
800m: 1. Dumbravean Corina ROM 2:03.19; 2. Popescu Liliana ROM 2:05.09 SB; 3. Olaru Mihaela ROM 2:05.16
100m hurdles: 1.Rentoumi Flora GRE 12.96; 2. Zamfir Karmen ROM 13.04; Stogiannidou Georgia GRE 13.16
Pole Vault: 1. Wing Gao Shu CHN 4.27m; 2. Stefanova Tania BUL 4.27m; 3. Tsiliggiri Georgia GRE 4.12m
Long Jump: 1. Kafetzi Yiannoula GRE 6.71m (+1.1); 2. Ivanova Tatyana RUS 6.66m (+3.6) [best non assisted 6.24 (-0.2); 3. Xanthou Niki GRE 6.50m (+3.0)
Triple Jump: 1. Markou Dimitra GRE 14.03m (-0.6); 2. Hurd Tiombe USA 14.00m (-0.7); 3. Bolshova Olga MOL 14.00m (-0.1)
Javelin Throw: 1. Yarygina Oksana RUS 59.49m; 2. Davydova Natalia RUS 51.21m; 3. Nasta Alexandra GRE 51.15m